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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yugoslav Dreams On Hold

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- After 28 months on the sidelines because of UN sanctions, Yugoslavia's version of a basketball "Dream Team" may, for the time being, remain only a dream.


"Yugoslavia Is Returning, Europe Is Shivering," said a headline in Belgrade's independent Borba newspaper -- over an article detailing daunting technicalities that could block the comeback.


A recent easing of United Nations sanctions against Yugoslavia and Montenegro in principle allows Yugoslav teams to return to international competition.


But Borba noted glumly that because the basketball team has missed several competition cycles, it is not eligible for next year's European Championship in Greece or the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.


Borba also suggested that some of Yugoslavia's old rivals in Europe are hardly eager to have the tough Balkan squad back on the circuit.


Spain and Italy "are watching our planned return with less than enthusiasm," Borba said, "not to speak about rivals Croatia and Slovenia."


Serbian-led troops fought in a brief war with Slovenia, and a longer war that killed 10,000 in Croatia, after those two republics seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991. A similar war still rages in parts of Bosnia.


Bora Stankovic, the Yugoslav who heads the world basketball federation, said in an interview that a decision would be made during a FIBA meeting Nov. 26 in Munich, Germany. He said that at least nine European nations would have to vote in Yugoslavia's favor for it to be allowed to play in the European Championship next year. Only four top European countries qualify for the Atlanta Olympics.


Yugoslavia has won European, world and Olympic titles. Though the newly truncated Yugoslavia has only two republics instead of six -- Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia have seceded -- it still has plenty of potential power to draw upon.