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Post by Scottish » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:31 pm

The Serb SuperLiga has a simple structure of sixteen teams meeting twice for a total of thirty games each and 240 in all. The bottom two go down and third last enters a play-off against third in the Serbian First league.

On the face of it, attendances are poor for a country which used to attract huge crowds – especially for European games and matches against Croat clubs. It was George Orwell who said that sport was “war minus the shooting.” If the great writer had lived to be a nonagenarian he might well have thought this to be a very good thing indeed as, instead of hurling insults at each other inside a football stadium, a very real war erupted across the former Yugoslavia.

Despite the decline in attendances, Serbian figures are the best of all the former Yugoslav republics. Though with a population of c7M it is also the largest of these. With an average of 3,874 Serbia is 23rd in Europe and 51st in the world. But even those figures are significantly boosted by the presence of one truly “big” club in the shape of Crvena Zvezda (to give them their unpronounceable in English name) of Belgrade, or, more familiarly, Red Star (which is what I’m going to stick with).

Their average last season of 19,231 means Serbia is the lowest country in the rankings to possess a team with a five-figure average. Red Star come in at 175th in the world, much lower than in their heyday when they were serious contenders for European honours and indeed, European Champions in 1991. Now, they are not just shorn of crowd-boosting figures against the likes of Dinamo Zagreb, they have also fallen foul of Financial Fair Play rules which saw them barred from Europe this season.

Maybe Chelsea, Man City or Real Madrid might do them a favour and loan them their accountants for a while.

Big crowds will still turn out for big occasions. The highest crowd of the 240 in the league was 48,347 for Red Star’s final game against OFK when they all but clinched the title as rivals Partizan were beaten the same day. Other crowds between 30,000-40,000 weren’t that uncommon but their average was dragged down by gates as low as 5,218. At the other end of the scale crowds of below 1,000 were far from rare and there were quite a few sub-500 too, with 200 recorded on a few occasions

19231 Red Star Belgrade
7895 Partizan Belgrade
5500 Novi Pazar
4700 Radnički Niš
4017 Napredak Kruševac
3121 Sloboda Užice
2900 Vojvodina
2393 Radnički 1923 Kragujevac
2033 Jagodina
1457 Čukarički
1333 Donji Srem
1113 Spartak Subotica
1080 Javor Ivanjica
1043 Rad Belgrade
977 Voždovac
911 OFK Belgrade

The First League also has sixteen clubs and the same format as the top level. It sees the top two go up and third into a play-off. The bottom four go straight down. With an average of 804 the Serb second level is 38th worldwide. Attendances last season varied from 100-4,000.

1900 Radnik Surdulica
1571 Metalac
1414 Timok Zaječar
1138 Borac Čačak
1113 Sloga Petrovac
686 Sloga Kraljevo
683 Dolina Padina
614 Smederovo
486 Jedinstvo Putevi Užice
444 Indjija
433 Mladost Lučani
400 Sinđelić Belgrade
383 Bežanija
375 Proleter Novi Sad
340 BSK Borča
320 Teleoptik Zemun

Below this level there are regional leagues. The winners of the four third level leagues all gain promotion to the First League. After that the pyramid extends downwards two more levels. I have no attendance details for any of these but given how low some of the First League figures are, these are likely to be negligible in the extreme.

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