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Home|Football News|Soccer in the Balkans|Dragan Stojkovic



Dragan "Piksi" Stojkovic

Dragan Stojkovic Courts Controversy: A Story Of A Ferrari Stuns Serbia

Ozren Podnar reports

USA | Japan

The legendary Serb soccer player Dragan "Piksi" Stojkovic has been caught up in a controversy involving customs charges, a Ferrari and a blind woman, according to reports in the Belgrade daily Kurir and the Italian Gazzetta dello Sport.

The former long-serving player with Japan's Nagoya Grampus Eight, currently the chairman of Red Star Belgrade, Stojkovic allegedly imported a Ferrari as a birthday present for his wife Snezana using a little trick to avoid paying customs charges.

Apparently, Stojkovic decided that the charges totalling 25% of the value of the car, estimated at 200,000 euros, were too much, but he recalled having read something to the effect that disabled persons whose disability exceeded 70% were exempted from paying the import duties in Serbia.

A blind eye to the law?

So that the present for Snezana would not turn out to be astronomically expensive, the one-time masterful midfielder asked a blind woman from the provincial town of Pirot if she would be kind enough to act as the formal importer of the automobile, since it would cost her nothing, and would help Stojkovic spare some 50,000 euros – not a small sum in the impoverished Balkans state.

However, someone involved in the transaction must have broken the vow of silence and the rumour started to spread in the streets about the way Snezana Stojkovic got the gift for her 40th birthday. Sure enough, the press got wind of the case and it wasn't long before the Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic was informed as well.

Dinkic reportedly flew into a fit of rage and enacted a decree limiting the value of all vehicles to be exempted from duties under the disability clause to a mere 10,000 euros.

The measure was designed to prevent similar malpractice in the future, but the young minister forgot about the fact that the coaches adapted for the use by certain types of disabled persons, for instance, paraplegics, actually cost over 10,000 euros.

What about the real invalids?

"The new limit hurts the people with real needs," said Zvonko Nikolic, the chairman of the Serbian Association of People with Disabilities.

Incidentally, Dinkic resigned in mid-November so the price limit in his decree may well be readjusted to fit the needs of the really disabled.

Stojkovic, whose career spanned almost 20 years and saw him play for Red Star, Olympique Marseille, Verona and Nagoya Grampus 8 in the Japanese J-League, among others, commented that he had not bought the car for himself, deliberately avoiding any mention of his wife.

Snezana, on the other hand, reportedly makes infrequent use of her car in the attempt not to fuel the controversy any further.

Ozren Podnar

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Name: Dragan Stojkovic
Nickname: Piksi
Birthdate: March 3rd, 1965
Birthplace: Nis (Serbia)
Height and weight: 176 cm, 73 kg
Job: Red Star Belgrade chairman
Former job: Serb & Montenegrin FA chairman
Playing position: attacking midfielder

Club career (games – goals)
1981/82 Radnicki 1 - 0
1982/83 Radnicki 17 - 1
1983/84 Radnicki 27 - 3
1984/85 Radnicki 0 – 0 (military service)
1985/86 Radnicki 25 - 4
1986/87 Red Star 32 – 17
1987/88 Red Star 28 – 15
1988/89 Red Star 29 – 12
1989/90 Red Star 31 – 10
1990/91 Marseille 11 – 0
1991/92 Verona 19 – 2
1992/93 Marseille 0 – 0 (injured)
1993/94 Marseille 18 – 5
1994 Nagoya 14 – 3
1995 Nagoya 40 – 15
1996 Nagoya 19 - 11
1997 Nagoya 18 – 2
1998 Nagoya 28 - 7
1999 Nagoya 24 - 11
2000 Nagoya 26 - 5
2001 Nagoya 15 – 3

International career:
1983-2001 Yugoslavia* 84 – 15
Honours:
Yugoslav player of the Year 1989
Appearances at Euro 1984 and 2000, World Cup 1990 and 1998
2 Yugoslav League Championships (1988 and 1990)
1 Yugoslav Cup (1990)
1 French League (1991)
1 Champions' Cup finals (1991)
2 Japanese Emperor's Cup (1995 and 1999)
1 Japanese Xerox Supercup (1996)

* until 1991 Yugoslavia before break-up
from 1992 rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)


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