Football in Belgrade

more than a year ago

Serbian football might not be particularly celebrated in the modern world, but any football fan worth the shirt on their back will know something about the rivalry between its two dominant teams. Serbian soccer basically comes down to Red Star and Partizan Belgrade, two clubs with plenty in common but little in the way of camaraderie. The two have shared every independent Serbian title bar one (a strange war criminal episode in the late ‘90s, if you’re wondering), and the derby match has become a popular attraction for football fans visiting the country.

This is all good and well, but there are a few things that prospective visitors should take into account. First of all, don’t make light of the rivalry between the two fans. This isn’t a banter-based feud like the one between Liverpool and Man Utd or Chelsea and the rest of the UK. This is a genuine blood rivalry that only surprises when violence isn’t involved. If you’re planning on going to a match, stay clear of both sides and stay in the comfortable middle ground.

That goes as far as choice of clothing on the day too. While violence against individuals wearing innocent club colours (red and white for Red Star, black and white for Partizan) is rare, it is still too prevalent to ignore. Check out a match when in town by all means, but play it safe and wear a neutral colour if you do.

Most domestic games are sparsely attended, so getting a ticket isn’t difficult. Just rock up to the stadium on match day and go from there. The opposite is true of matches between Red Star and Partizan, and we recommend getting a ticket in advance. The sale of alcohol is restricted within one kilometre of the stadium on match day, although you can hardly tell from the state of some fans.


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