Vicious attempts to destroy Kozhuf

Kozhuf's fans; photo: mkultras.blogspot.comOne of the oldest Macedonian clubs, FK Kozhuf from Gevgelija, is being under siege in attempts to destroy it by certain local individuals.

Shocking and sad news come from the most southern Macedonian city, Gevgelija. The local club Kozhuf, one of the oldest in Macedonia as it was founded back in 1922, may soon come to perish. And it isn’t a question of financial problems, but rather a neighboring club that tries to steal its identity.

FK Miravci is a club from the Miravci village, about 20 km north of Gevgelija. The club, formed in 1951, has been enjoying some success in recent years as they have competed in the Second League for the past 7 seasons. After getting sympathizers from all over Macedonia for their play in the Second League, suddenly they have become a punchline for mockery and hatred. The reason stems from a scandal that dates back to the 2010/11 season when they won promotion to the First League after winning the play-offs, but then gave up their place to relegated Vardar and remained in the Second League. The very next season, Vardar became champions.

Now, Miravci is on the verge of a new scandal. This time Miravci is trying to take Kozhuf’s name, history and tradition. Kozhuf is part of the Third League South, one level lower than Miravci. They play at the Gradski stadium in Gevgelija, but in a deal with the local mayor, Miravci took over the stadium and left Kozhuf without a home ground. Last round’s game between Kozhuf and Partizan never kicked off as local police disallowed the players of both teams, the referees and the fans to enter the field. Although Kozhuf has a valid contract to use the stadium (their home since the club’s founding in 1968), they are now facing a strange and vicious situation.

The mayor of Gevgelija, Ivan Frangov, without permission from Kozhuf, signed a deal with Miravci’s owner Vasil Shterjov to give Kozhuf’s name to him. Now Miravci has applied to change its name to Kozhuf, but since this is legally impossible, in the future they will be called Kozhuv, changing the last word from f to v. They already took over Kozhuf’s stadium, and now with the name change they want to attract the local fans, who aren’t stupid and understand what is going on.

Destroying a 91-year-old club is definitely not the way to attract fans. Now, since Miravci is already playing in Gevgelija, what football will be enjoyed by the nearly 2.000 citizens of the village that for years got used to Second League games? And more importantly, what will the fans of Kozhuf do without their club? Just for the record, Gevgelija is a city with around 20.000 citizens, so it’s no secret why Miravci wants to take Kozhuf’s name.

Looking for a solution, Kozhuf is threatening that it will ask for help from the other side of the border, in Greece. The town of Polykastro is just 25 km from Gevgelija and Kozhuf may ask permission to use the local stadium. They don’t mind if Miravci uses the stadium in Gevgelija, they just don’t understand how they can’t use it.

We sincerely hope that this problem will be solved soon so one of the oldest Macedonian clubs will continue to exist, even in the Third League.

Video of the situation regarding the Kozhuf – Partizan game
(in Macedonian language)

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