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By ESPN Staff
Apr 10, 2009

Red Star players: No money for food or rent

Red Star Belgrade players are struggling to pay for food and rent because of the financial crisis at the former European Cup winners, midfielder Mirnes Sisic said.

The Slovenian, who joined Red Star during the mid-season break in January, said he faced eviction from his flat as the club had failed to pay him any wages since he arrived.

"The landlord came over earlier this week and told me to pay three months' rent I owe him or pack my stuff and leave," Sisic told Belgrade daily newspapers published on Friday.

"If Red Star can't at least give me money for a roof over my head, never mind what the club owes me in wages, I will have no choice but to go back to Slovenia and stay with my parents.

"I can't believe a club of Red Star's stature has allowed this to happen, it's like the Titanic. Young players are in an even more humiliating position, as we give them daily handouts so that they can buy themselves some lunch and coffee."

While battling their own credit crunch and rifts within the board, Red Star could also be in trouble with football's authorities after their fans set fire to stadium seats at their rivals Partizan following Wednesday's 2-0 derby defeat.

Red Star, whose present team are a far cry from the 1991 outfit which won Europe's premier club competition, are likely to face a hefty fine.

The defeat to champions and league leaders Partizan left Red Star 14 points off the pace and while managing director Ilija Ivic conceded the title race was over, he vowed to stay at the club in an effort to pull them out of the doldrums.

"It would be easy to walk away now but I am not a quitter, although I had no idea the situation was so bad when I took over several months ago," said Ivic, a former striker at the club.

"The basic condition in professional football is to make sure that players have only their accomplishments on the pitch to focus on, but that's not the case here.

"The problems we are going through have affected the team and it was unrealistic to expect the players to live up to their potential in what has been a torrid season.

"We are going to have a meeting with the board, the club president and the players next week to see if we can find a way out of this predicament."

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