Bosnian coaches suffer night of long knives

November 4, 2006

SARAJEVO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The Bosnian FA (NFSBIH) has dismissed national team coach Blaz Sliskovic and the coaches of all its other representative sides after a poor start to Euro 2008 qualifying.

'All coaches have been dismissed and we will advertise all coaching staff posts,' executive board member Muhidin Rascic told the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje.

The executive board have not discussed a demand from the 13 Bosnia players, all foreign based, who this week threatened to boycott international call-ups unless the heads of the NFSBIH resigned.

Bosnia have failed to qualify for the finals of a major tournament after a decade of trying, and the same applies to junior selections.

The national team's Euro 2008 campaign began with a 5-2 win at Malta before they lost 3-1 at home to Hungary, drew 2-2 with Moldova and crashed 4-0 at home to Greece.

Sliskovic, who narrowly failed to take Bosnia to the finals of this year's World Cup and Euro 2004, resigned after the Hungary game but was persuaded to stay on.

Earlier this year, his contract was extended until mid-2008.

The domestic league is also in a poor state, mired in allegations of corruption and match-fixing.

The NFSBIH is run on ethnic lines that reflect the delicate balance between the country's two parts, the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation, created after the 1992-95 war.

The 13 players plus former captain Sergej Barbarez, who retired after the Greece game, called for the resignation of the NFSBIH board's Muslim, Serb and Croat members and of the national team director.

'These gentlemen in the (NFSBIH) do not want to face the truth and admit to themselves what they have done for the team, besides degrading its honour and constantly disturbing relations among us,' said the players in an open letter published in the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz on Tuesday.

But the executive board said in a statement late on Friday that the NFSBIH would begin a process to sanction the players who want to overthrow them.