Interview with Komiti Zapad, group from Vardar Skopje, Macedonia.
- Hi, please introduce yourself and your position in your group:
Hi, I am 24 years old, I represent Komiti Zapad. I have been active in our group almost 10 years, actively involved in organization of most of the stuff for 5years. I am regular to Vardar games, home and away also.
- When was Komiti Zapad founded, and why did you choose this name, some history?
The first official game where the Komiti Zapad banner appeared was against Crvena Zvezda on 4 June 1987 in Skopje. Since then we have been supporting our club and traveling where ever they play. The name Komiti Zapad was carefully chosen, after many suggestions, mainly the term Komiti was used in the late 19, 20 century. The freedom fighters and our national heroes who tried to free Macedonia from Turkish occupation were called Komiti. And Zapad signifies our West Stand. Since forming Komiti expanded very fast, and were in top 10 in Yugoslavia for many years Skopje was a dangerous place to go if you were not Vardar fan, after independence the level was maintained. But in 1996 away travels were banned so the interest fall down, many incidents were caused by us so many members were arrested, and so the overall standard was going down. Another thing is that Komiti divided in 1999, and a new fraction Loyal Fans was formed, that declined the number of the group, so there were 2 groups that supported Vardar, but the conflict after many years is now resolved.
We support handball team Vardar and football team Vardar.
- Please write a bit about the general scene at your club. How are your relations with other groups?
Our club went through many difficulties, few years ago we were playing Sparta Prague for entrance in the group stage in Cl, but since then everything was going down, the players were leaving and results were awful. So Komiti changed the board that was making only false promises. Instead came another investor who promised a lot but we didn’t see any results also, so after a while he left the club, saying he was under pressure from us all the time. After that came the worst period for Vardar, there was no money, so Komiti formed a Board for Saving Vardar, and tried to find money to stabilize the club. We used to make actions for collecting money like selling t-shirts, tickets etc. The players played for no money we can say, and we were in charge in the club. Bur fortunately lately a new Board took over so thing are going well, we hope that they will be fair so they won’t have any problems with us.
-We do not have any relations with other groups, except with Vojvodi Tetovo which are our official friends. All the rest is based on individual friendship. But certainly we do not have plans to establish any official relations with other groups in Macedonia.
- Can you write a bit about your rivals and why they are your rivals?
We do not have any serious rivalry, in the past Ckembari Bitola were our biggest rivals, and lately Shvercerat Shkup, with Ckembari there is long tradition of hatred between Bitola and Skopje, so when we go to Bitola the whole town is gathering to see us like its circus.
We had many incidents with them from which latest was the one in Vodice, Croatia, where we were supporting the national handball team who played on the world cup. Everything was going good the first days but after lots of alcohol and other substances we got in a fight where we beat them like kids.
We always go on away games to Bitola for football but unfortunately they won’t let us be in the handball arena (they are the club’s board), we haven’t figured out why, but it seems that it’s the ego that is questioned of being humiliated in your own arena.
Shvereci skopje is another group that is considered our rival, they are part from Macedonian neighborhood called Cair made from Albanian ethnicity, our rivalry consists of national hatred and battle for that part of Skopje.
We haven’t met officially lately with them because their team is in the 4league but in town there are many trouble often.
Their main characteristic is that they only attack when the ratio is 10:1, the previous year we had 2 major incident provoked by their members combined with regular civilians(when they see Komiti they all allied). In both cases there were major consequences for our group, as many members were arrested and criminally charged, the whole problem is that they are politically protected and we are not, so its only us who get in trouble, usually when they get beat up they say it wasn’t them but it was some regular civilian because they never wear their scarves outside their houses.
- Do you have any friendship, and why?
We are engaged in brotherhood with Ultras Gelsenkirchen, supporters of Schalke 04, and we maintain very good relationship with their group. It all started on the game Schalke 04- Vardar in the Uefa cup, where our sub group Loyal-fans made contact with Uge. Since then we have concrete connection, they come and visit and we go and visit them. Most recent was the visit of many lads from Uge on the celebration of 10 years of Loyal fans in 2009. They stayed here 4-5 days and we had a great time in Skopje. We have also helped each other when one of the teams play some opponent, they came when we played Roeselare and we were there in Sofia against Levski. Lately we made some scarves, half red black, half white and blue, and also a flag representing our brotherhood. Few of our members were on the latest derby between Schalke 04- b. Dortmund.
- How do you travel on away trips? And how does your group stay in touch with each other when there is no football?
Unfortunately there was no away trips for a long time, we made some incident, so the police and the Football Federation allied against us, and banned away games like they did once in the past. If we were to go to away game organized we were about to face criminal charges. We still made some away trips but not organized, only by cars and regular bus relation, so we could prevent us from being stopped and criminally charged. Before the problem with the new law, we were traveling on away games by buses that we mostly paid by ourselves. Sometimes the club’s board helped in the past. When there are no games, each subgroup usually hangs with each other, but once a year we have a party where our punk band Vep Druzinata plays, so we have a great time than.
- On pictures I see you use a bit pyro. Whats the rules here?
Pyrotechnic is regulated by law so it’s not allowed, in the home games sometimes we put some pyro show but it’s ok as long as we have agreement with the police and do not throw the flares on the field and pause the game. It all depends on the police, for example 2 years ago in Bitola some of our members were charged for having flares but on the other side our opponents burned pyro, but there was no fine for them. As i said, it all depends on the police and how much they can`t stand us..
- Can you write a bit about the general scene in Macedonia?
The general scene is made up from groups that live on their tradition and groups that are actually performing, but both ways the general scene is not what it should be, whenever there is some rise police repressions slow it down.
From the other groups we can separate basketball fans: Family Aerodrom and City Park boys. They put up good show when their teams play each other, last year they made some big incident where some 150 people clashed (???) Into a fight, many injured and arrested.
This season both of their clubs are going down, but I must mention that family Aerodrome made huge efforts to save their club from regulation and they succeed in that.
They are Komiti closest “rival” in knowing the ultras movement, so for the last few years they can be placed as number one In basketball groups. They always put up good songs, choreography and most of all constant number no matter if they play with the first or the last team. CPB is also a good group but lately they’ve been going through change of generations so they need time to get back on their old track.
From the other groups, Ckembari Bitola try to do something with themselves, but they are not constant, they make awful choreography and most of their songs are copied from other groups, a good characteristics is that they have good average age on their stand. Kumani Kumanovo are coming back after a long break, they are known for supporting in Arenas, like futsall club, handball and basketball clubs. They are known for making great choreographies and burning lots lost of pyro.
Pirati Avtokomanda is another group supporting handball Metalurg,they do not have their quality songs, they gather only when they play against Vardar. I can say we took most of their banners in Combat so they should not be considered as a serious group.
Vojvodi Tetovo are a great group, they make lots of trouble, have good flags, make good choreo, and are loyal too, a bad remark is that few years ago they lost some of their flags, but they are getting better and better now.
Some other active groups are: Gavoli Kicevo (recently performing great- they support Napredok Kicevo), Ajduci Strumica, Lozari Kavadarci, Majmuni Prilep (used to be good but now it’s the same with or without them), Ribari Ohrid etc.
-Can you tell us something about the structure of the group, marketing, incidents?
Komiti Skopje are currently having a shift in generations, the older ones who are above 30 were a great team of hooligans and ultras that were respected very much and were always well prepared. Unfortunately due to problems with acab we see them more rarely on the stand, the generation between 20 and 30 is also good, lots of creative guys and very loyal..
Our group lately was divided by sub groups, divided from neighborhoods. First one was ultras Karpos Boys coming from Karpos, they are around 40 members.
Another is "The Club" a mix from younger and older members.
We also have Tvrodokorni (hardcores) which are all over 18, ex skinheads and well prepared lads.
Another very well group is Komiti Novo Lisice who come from Novo Lisice and are the most loyal subgroup, with lots of crazy lads.
In the past there was division in Komiti so Loyal Fans divided and went to the north stand, but after 5,6 years we united again under Komiti Zapad and loyal fans is now a small sub group too.
It is important to say that after an incident where many of our members were taken to custody, Komiti organized a prostest where most of the Ultras groups(except rivals) showed up and supported us. The protest was lasting for an hour and it was consisted of a walk around the town, the government building etc in a corteo.
Few incident I can mention that we did in the past 2 years are two bigger incidents in Nerezi and the Skopje City Square lately(with Sverceri Skopje), incident in Vodice,Croatia(Ckembari), beating up Cska Sofia fans in Skopje on Vardar- Cska, incidents with Cska Moskow fans here in Skopje too, also small incident in Bosnia with Horde Zla, and in Tetovo and Skopje incidents with fans of Skendija, and of course lots of incidents with ACAB that I would not mention.
- What is your opinion of the Ultra movement in Europe, which scene are in your view the best and which scene have a good development?
I cannot exclude any scene as the best, everyone has its own goods characteristics. Germans have good numbers, south Americans are always special for their songs, eastern Europe has excellent hooligans, Italians have their own special style which they are unique with.
I see Afrikaans improving a lot and Balkans too.
- Whats the best away trip?
Like in other countries in Europe same in Macedonia best away games are those that consist of good numbers, choreography, pyro, the eternal derby of Macedonia is Vardar- Pelister. There are two periods that can be separated, one is since Macedonia is independent, period from 91-93, 4 times in that period we have made away games in big number of fans going organized to Bitola. One of the most remarkable ones is the away trip by train to Bitola in june1992. From Skopje departed a train with 700 Komiti. The train departed in 8 o clock in the morning, the usual arrival time is 5 hours but of course it was lot more than that, because some of the drunken guys found it interesting to find out how to drive the train so we had many accidents on the way. Another interesting part was when we arrived on the train station where we made a total chaos, after we got on the game there were many incidents caused by both groups, field invasion fighting with police etc...Since then Komiti got the ban to go on away games with trains that lasts till today.
Another interesting away game was few years later in Bitola too, where we went 11 buses and many many cars, few troubles there too. In some period the rivality has fallen on a low level, for that main fault was to Football federation and police that banned away games, also Pelister dropped to 2cond league.
Lately the ultras culture is more developed, new generations arose in both sides, Komiti made most away games in Bitola in the past 3-4 years. All our away games included choreography, pyro, incidents with police, and everything else what makes a good away game.
One of the best away games outside the country was in Romania, on Steaua- Vardar where we had many incidents, but i can say we demolished them on their home ground, so they did not even think about coming to Skopje.
Vardar - Sileks 94-95
Vardar Pro - Kolding
Vardar - Partizan
Some general pictures, more can be seen here!