Milan: The world players' union FIFPro said it was "unbelievable" that the Serbian FA has decided to press charges against a former player who said he had been confronted with non-payment, threats and blackmail during his career in the country.

FIFPro said the situation for players in Serbia was "dire" and the FSS should be focusing on stamping out the many abuses committed against them.

Dragisa Pejovic made the allegations about soccer in Serbia during an event organised in Brussels last week when FIFPro released its so-called Black Book, documenting what it said was maltreatment of players in Eastern Europe.

"This is unheard of," FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen said in a statement. "The football association should be seriously addressing the abuses in Serbian football, because there are a lot of those.

"Players are not paid, players are extorted, players are abused, and players are forced to cooperate in match fixing. That is what the Serbian association must address."

"This reaction by the Serbian FA highlights just how dire the situation in Serbia and other countries in Eastern Europe is. The position of the professional footballer under employment law is simply lousy."

"Instead of getting to work on the accusations from Dragisa Pejovic and a number of other players in Serbia about the high level of abuse...the football association prefer to protect the people who are really responsible. Unbelievable."

The FSS confirmed on its website (www.fss.rs) that it had pressed charges against Pejovic.

"We expect Pejovic to present facts evidence for his claims so that his allegations do not remain just something he has said to the media," said disciplinary committee chairman Slobodan Pajovic.

Pejovic told the FIFPro event that he had been confronted with non-payment, violence, threats and blackmail and that, under enormous pressure from the club management, he had participated in manipulating matches.

He said he received threats that his legs would be broken if he did not co-operate.

The former Borac Cacak left back also told Belgrade media last week he was asked by the club's top officials to put in no effort in a league match at home against Partizan Belgrade in 2008 and to deliberately give away a penalty in the 70th minute if the score was still goalless at that point.

"FIFPro is fully behind Dragisa Pejovic and the Serbian trade union for professional footballers, Nezavisnost," said Van Seggelen.

"They all have the good of Serbian football in mind, they have stuck out their necks and because of this are now facing enormous pressure in their own country. That is why they deserve the complete support of all their colleagues worldwide."

(Agencies)