Croatian Football Federation Against the New Sports Law

By 10 February 2016

Croatian football chiefs unhappy with new law.

Zdravko Mamić was not the only Croatian football official who appeared at a press conference yesterday. Executive President of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) Damir Vrbanović talked to the press about the new Sports Law, which entered into force yesterday after a six-month adjustment period, reports Jutarnji List and on February 10, 2016.

The Law contains a number of items HNS is opposed to and has therefore filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court. "The six-month period expires today and we wanted to explain to the public our thoughts and opinions about the Law. Our idea is that a new law should be adopted, a law which would address problems of Croatian sport in a better way. This law has a whole series of shortcomings and that is the reason why we have initiated proceeding before the Constitutional Court to examine the constitutionality of the law. We will see how that will end", said Vrbanović.

"I am not a lawmaker who interprets the law. I am an HNS representative who reads the law as it was written. We will continue to operate as before, until the Law is changed", said Vrbanović. "According to the Sports Law, the part which refers to the organizational structures of national federations applies only to those federations in which at least half of the clubs in the highest levels of competition are fully professional clubs. Croatian Olympic Committee has made a decision that football includes men's football, women's football, indoor football and beach soccer. That means that Croatian football has 10 professional clubs among the 32 clubs in the highest level of competitions."

Ministry of Science, Education and Sports announced that the Sports Inspection will monitor the implementation of the new Sports Law. "Ministry of Science, Education and Sports has always advocated against any political interference in sports and will continue to insist on this point. The Ministry will provide the conditions for lawful functioning and development of both professional and amateur sports, and will take all available measures for sports to be a transparent sector in which 'matches' will be decided in sport arenas and not in front of judicial bodies. Sport should be an example of fair competition for all those involved in it", said the Ministry.

Ljubo Pavasović Visković, president of the Supervisory Board of Hajduk Football Club, said that it was incredible that one sports federation could ignore the laws. "One of the most important federations says it will not abide by the new law. We have not heard anything about the reasons for such a decision except for some arguments which are obviously not true."

Marko Sladoljev, a Member of Parliament from MOST, said that his party believed the new law was a step towards the resolution of problems in Croatian sports. "During the election campaign, we have said that we advocate 'purity' in Croatian sports, especially in football. This law has two good intentions which we support. First, the Law is removing hooligans from owners' boxes at the stadiums. Second, it promotes public and transparent financing of sport clubs. This law is not perfect, but it has good intentions and we will support it in Parliament", said Sladoljev.