Savo Milosevic has urged Partizan Belgrade fans not to shame their club with racism when Manchester United visit this week.
Partizan had to play their last two Europa League games behind closed doors as punishment for the latest incident of shocking behaviour by some of their supporters.
Their manager — a former Aston Villa player — understands why United would be worried about Thursday’s game.
Milosevic said (via Daily Mail): “Sure, and I, as a former player with friends throughout the world, will do everything to make sure our guests will feel comfortable and to think only of a game of football.
“I will say to our fans: ‘A big club, a giant club, is coming to visit us — and we should be honoured to play against Manchester United for the first time since 1996’.
“We have to be proud to host the players, coaches, leaders and fans of such a great club.”
Credit to Milosevic for the above statement against bigotry behaviour.
We don’t want a repeat of what happened when England went to Bulgaria last week, when several Three Lions’ players were subject to racist chanting.
The Partizan Belgrade boss added to his initial comments and reflected on what happened in Sofia, saying, “This is, in my opinion, done by people who are not educated, people from lower parts of society.
“There is nobody and nothing — and thus want to draw attention to themselves because they have nothing else to shaw, expect anger and primitivism.
“Perhaps we should not give them so much attention because they enjoy it, they enjoy their own stupidity and primitivism.
“I am frustrated when I hear and read about all forms of discrimination, including of course racial.
“For me and for all normal people, it’s hard to understand and impossible to accept such behaviour and phenomena.
“Especially in sports, which are supposed to be a bridge between different nations, skin colours, religions, gender.
“Football — and sport in general — enriches people, makes them better, because of the friendships you made, getting to know other cultures, other nations.”
We can only hope their fans — or locals attending to see the famous Man United — listen to the Partizan Belgrade manager.
When we cover the game on Thursday night, it should be about the game of football. Sport, not racism.
Former United striker Romelu Lukaku, who left in the summer for Inter Milan, has been subject to racist abuse in Italy this season. It is a problem in society more so than football that needs stamping out.
Hope any Reds travelling to the game have a safe trip!