Vidic bites the bullet and pulls out of Serbian FA presidential race

March 14 – Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has withdrawn his candidacy for president of the Serbian FA just two weeks after throwing his hat into the ring.

The only remaining candidate for the position to be decided today is another ex-player, the veteran Dragan Dzajic who used to play for Red Star Belgrade and is believed to be close to the Serbian government.

“Our football faces big challenges,” 41-year-old Vidic said after announcing his withdrawal.

“Many things must and can be improved. My idea was and remains to assemble a team of top professionals who are able to solve these challenges.

“Unfortunately, at every step of the way toward becoming the president of the (federation), it was made clear to me that we would not be given that chance.”

Vidic, who had a highly successful career with Manchester United and served as captain, has faced a massive campaign against his candidacy.

Serbian football has long been tainted with corruption and nationalism. On Sunday, Red Star fans in Belgrade displayed a banner congratulating convicted Bosnian Serb war crimes criminal Ratko Mladic for his birthday, saying “every Serb raises their hat to you, and raises their children according to your example!”

Mladic, who was nicknamed the “butcher of Bosnia”, was jailed by an international war crimes court for the death of tens of thousands of people in the civil war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

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