Four Serbian Water Polo Players Attacked in 2022 European Championships Host City

Photo Courtesy: Sean Fornelli

Four Serbian water polo players were attacked on Saturday, Feb. 9 in the city of Split, Croatia. The incident occurred before a league water polo match between Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade and Croatia’s Mornar Split.

According to ESPN, three suspects who are linked to the attack have been detained. It was also reported that Serbian goalkeeper Alesandro Kralj feared he would be killed during the attack and suffered a broken nose.

The Serbian team returned home instead of competing in the match. The Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN) provided a statement on the incident:

LEN has learned with disappointment and hereby condemns the incident happened in the city of Split (CRO) where four Serbian water polo players were attacked by local ultras while staying in the downtown.

Even though this repulsive assault happened at a non-LEN-sanctioned event (before a Regional League game), the European Swimming Federation feels necessary to underline how important is to prevent any similar incident in the future, especially in the city of Split, future host of the 2022 LEN European Water Polo Championships.

“European Aquatics have always shared the values of mutual understanding and acceptance of the respective nations” LEN President Paolo Barelli said. “Sport is uniting and not dividing, athletes and teams can be rivals but never enemies. LEN is committed to apply these principles and expect to be appreciated by everyone, every time, everywhere.”

LEN is waiting for the outcome of any investigation of the sad case and strongly hopes that this distasteful act of a small minority will not influence the existing peaceful sport relations of Serbia and Croatia, two great water polo nations – and we shall witness more great events in a peaceful and fair atmosphere in the coming months and years.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN). For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

ESPN contributed to this report. 

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