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August 3, 1994

A Recap: Red Cards, TV Woes, Goodbye Dukla

As first-league soccer action cranks up, it’s time for a recap of what we saw last season. Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows from the 1993-’94 campaign, which ended in May. Sparta Praha wrapped up last year’s championship three rounds before season’s end. As a result, overall season attendance fell by 200,000 from the previous season.

The Czech Football Association has come up with a potential solution. Officials hope to create more league interest by making each victory worth three points instead of two. n Nine clubs accounted for 14 coaching changes last season. Tension on the benches must have been responsible for nervousness on the field. No fewer than 1,014 yellow and 70 red cards were dished out in 240 league games.

The fate of the two clubs that were dismissed from the ranks of the elite at the end of the season had been virtually cemented by the time the fall half of the season ended. Dukla Praha and FC Kovkor Vitkovice stumbled all year long and, in the end, fell off the face of first-league soccer. n This past season was the first without teams from Slovakia. The quality of play reflected their absence.

Although the new Czech teams did their best to make up the difference and played surprisingly well, they simply couldn’t substitute for the best Slovak squads. n The November doping scandal of two Drnovice players and the spring television war (Sparta & Czech Television vs. the Czech Football Association & Nova TV) did nothing to quiet the league. Drnovice’s Milan Postulka and Rostislav Prokop were banned for two years for taking a banned stimulant. Both sides in the TV war eventually buried the hatchet and Nova TV will cover the action with live Friday afternoon games and a Sunday evening highlight show.

The Prague clubs were scattered throughout the standings. Sparta and Slavia finished on top, Viktoria Zizkov in the middle, and Bohemians and Dukla were at the bottom. Their positions in the final standings have more than a little to do with their economic situations. While the relatively rich Sparta, Slavia and Viktoria Zizkov clubs shone in league play or in Czech Cup action, the poor Bohemians barely retained their place in the first league. Dukla Praha, with its financial support from the military gone, will no longer field a professional squad. Only junior and other amateur teams will compete under the club’s once-proud banner in the future.

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