A player in Serbia was threatened at gunpoint following a missed penalty in a league match between Novi Pazar and FK Rad at the weekend, FIFPro, the world players' union, have confirmed.


FK Rad were leading the game 1-0 when Zarko Udovicic stepped up to take a penalty for Novi Pazar in the 85th minute. The 27-year-old full-back fired the ball over the crossbar and two days later, armed hooligans stormed the club's training ground and pointed a loaded gun at his head.


Several other players were present at the time and Udovicic, who has since the left the club citing fear for his personal safety, told a local newspaper that the weapon had been just a metre away from him during the terrifying incident.


"He could choose where he wanted to shoot me. He asked me whether I had set up the game with our club's management. I said I did not," the player revealed.


Speaking about the shocking events, president of Serbian players' association (Nezavisnost), Mirko Poledica, said, "In the past years, I have heard about many violent incidents and you wonder when does it stop?"

Explaining that what happened is not exactly a rare occurrence, he continued, "What worries me is that there is no reaction from the football association. They remain quiet. They must do something to guarantee the safety of the players. But they don't. Next time a player could be murdered. Must we wait until some hooligan actually kills one of our football players.


"Each day they hope that there will be nobody knocking on their door to beat them up, that there will be no person setting their car on fire, or that there will be no hooligan putting a gun to their head.


"The only positive thing from this situation, is that our Vice Prime Minister has spoken out and acknowledged the serious problems we are facing."


A statement from FIFPro read, "FIFPro fully supports Nezavisnost and the players in Serbia: As every professional workman, each professional footballer is entitled to a safe working environment. It is up to the football and national authorities to provide such safe environment."

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