A few months ago I spontaneously visited Velez Mostar at their home match against Borac Banja Luka. A beautiful day in the city with nice sunny weather was the start of a great football day. For me personally yes, but voor Velez it turned out to be a disastrous day. Not only because lost the match, they also got punished for the trouble during and after the match.
The situation in the country is very hard to describe in a few sentences. As you might know, Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided in three ethnic groups. In Herzegovina it is mainly the Catholic Croats and Islamic Bosnians, while in Bosnia it’s the Islamic Bosnians and Orthodox Serbs. Between these groups there is still tension since the war in the nineties. Especially when it comes to football. No surprise that a match between Velez (Bosnians) and Borac (Serbs) comes with an intense atmosphere. Little is needed to let things go out of hand.
Velez Mostar with empty hands
Borac is on top of the league and the reigning Champions, so definitely the team to beat. No surprise Velez is motivated to the bone. No away fans allowed today, due to COVID-regulations. The Red Army of Velez has brought a proper group for today’s match, singing loud and proud. Despite Velez being the better team, Borac takes the lead with a well taken free kick. Until that time, the visitors only defended making it difficult for Velez to create chances.
The referee became a very crucial factor in this match. He often stopped the match for ridiculous fouls which looked more like theatre play by Borac than proper football. He looked to be biased in favor of the visitors. The crowd became more and more furious after each negative decision by the referee. Despite the frustration Velez Mostar tried to equalize. But all hope vanished when Borac scored again in the 81st minute, with goalscorer Vranjes provoking the home crowd resulting in a pitch invasion by the Red Army. Players and referee had to run and hide in the dressing rooms.
Until that moment the Red Army showed decent support, with proper pyro and a lot of vocal support. The match was abandoned and eventually Borac was granted a 3-0 victory. But it did not finish there. After the match the referees were stopped in a tunnel and attacked. Their car burned down. Because of all the troubles Velez was punished with playing several home matches without fans, including the Mostar Derby against Zrinjski a few weeks later. I supposed to attend this derby, but unfortunately I had to cancel because of these circumstances.