Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic
has dropped forward Adem Ljajic for refusing to sing the
national anthem before the team's friendly with Spain, the
Balkan country's football association (FSS) said on Monday.
Mihajlovic, famed as a tough taskmaster, issued a set of
rules signed by all players and staff when he took over last
week and the first item on the agenda was that everyone had to
sing the national anthem.
"Ljajic has been sent home from the team's European tour and
the decision is based on Mihajlovic's rulebook stipulating a
code of conduct which Ljajic has breached," the FSS said on its
"Ljajic has told Mihajlovic he refused to sing the national
anthem out of personal beliefs and that there would be no change
in his position regarding the matter.
"The player will only be allowed to return to the national
team if he changes his attitude and officially notifies
Mihajlovic that he has done so."
Ljajic, a Slav Muslim from southern Serbia's ethnically
mixed region of Sandzak bordering Bosnia and Montenegro, also
clashed with his former Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi earlier
this month during a Serie A match in Italy.
Rossi was sacked for punching Ljajic after the forward
sarcastically applauded him having been substituted midway
through the first half of Fiorentina's 2-2 draw with relegated
The Serbian FA then defended Ljajic and called Rossi a
"disgrace to all football professionals" but this time had no
sympathy for the 20-year old, who has struggled since he joined
Fiorentina from Partizan Belgrade in 2010.
Serbia, who failed to reach Euro 2012, lost to European
champions Spain 2-0 in the Swiss city of Saint Gallen on
Saturday in the first of three games on their tour designed as a
build-up for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
They are away to France on Thursday and Sweden on June 5.
Serbia's World Cup qualifying group includes neighbours
Croatia and Macedonia as well as Belgium, Scotland and Wales.
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