This year, the Serbian water polo scene has been marked by a series of turbulent events. In March, Nikola Jaksic wasn’t allowed to join the national team
In April, Dusan Mandic was suspended by Novi Beograd. That event affected Mandic’s request not to participate in the preparations and the matches of the national team this summer.. Recently, information appeared that the same club is demanding a compensation fee of 150.000 euros to let Nikola Jaksic leave the club. Otherwise, he won’t be able to play.
Following the national team’s preparation for the summer challenges, Viktor Jelenic, the President of the Water Polo Federation, addressed Mandic’s suspension and the compensation fee for Jaksic’s departure in an interview with the official website of the Water Polo Federation of Serbia.
“There are opinions that the Water Polo Federation of Serbia should have reacted, especially since they are related to the players who are among the best in the world. The Federation cannot interfere in the relationship between the club and the players. When a player signs a contract, he has rights and obligations. They didn’t ask us when they signed the contract. That’s their mutual relationship, Jelenic said.
But Jelenic has his opinion about the current situation.
“Of course, I have it. That’s a personal opinion. It is not correct to do something like that to the two best players in the world, two-time Olympic winners, guys who should be the leaders of the new national team. I was the club president for many years and know what it’s like. One player cannot be sent to train with the second team during the championship (after the suspension, Mandic was allowed to train with the development team of Novi Beograd – Ed.), and compensation of 150,000 euros is asked for the other—that sum of compensation suits football transfers for our circumstances. At the same time, his playing future is uncertain if a new club is not found.
Novi Beograd’s director Slobodan Soro’s said that Jaksic had a chance to prove himself at the summer competitions.
“We also have the spokesperson’s statement… I said that right, it was a statement by the spokesperson of Novi Beograd. Such a statement is arrogant. I can see that the club has its own interests. However, the interests of each club are smaller than the interests of the national team and the state of Serbia. If a similar situation occurred with our players overseas, I could somewhat comprehend it. Nonetheless, I find it unacceptable that this happened in the best team in Serbia right now.”, Jelenic said among the other things.
At the end of the interview, he wished the players and the coaching team good health and success this summer. Jelenic said that head coach Uros Stevanovic had made excellent preparations in Kragujevac.
“I am convinced that at the end of the journey this summer, they will have a situation that will satisfy us and show what we need before the next seasonIt should be clear that we are on a new path, that we need time, patience and work. The ambitions are high, but we always have to stay grounded,”Jelenic concluded.