HNS Represented at FIFA Congress by Executive Director with Prison Sentence

By 13 June 2018

The Croatian Football Federation has authorized a man with a prison sentence to represent Croatia in front of the world. 

As most of you already know, at the Osijek County Court last week, Zdravko Mamić & Co. were sentenced for siphoning 116 million kuna from Zagreb club Dinamo through the transfers of Croatian national team players Luka Modrić and Dejan Lovren, and damaging the state budget of about 12.2 million kuna in unpaid taxes and surtaxes, reports on June 13, 2018. 

Convicted alongside Mamić were his brother, Zoran, Executive Director of the Croatian Football Federation and former director of Dinamo, Damir Vrbanović, and tax official Milan Pernar. Zdravko Mamić was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, Zoran Mamić to four years and 11 months, Milan Pernar to four years and two months, and Damir Vrbanović to three years.

What this means, precisely, is that the current Executive Director of the Croatian Football Federation and his chief operating officer have been sentenced to jail. Vrbanović was ultimately found guilty of dividing the compensation in Dejan Lovren's transfer.

But that doesn’t seem to bother HNS. 

At the FIFA Congress this morning in Moscow which will announce the hosts of the 2026 World Cup, the Croatian Football Federation will be represented by HNS President Davor Šuker, Head of International Affairs and Licensing, Ivančica Sudac, and HNS Executive Director Damir Vrbanović, who just was sentenced to three years in prison. 

"The Croatian Football Federation will not comment on the non-final verdict of the County Court in Osijek, we will comment on the case upon the verdict's validity," HNS announced after the verdict was read last week. 

Of course, the verdict is not yet final, and we are unfortunately aware that HNS likes to dance dangerously around what is ethical, moral, and is basic common sense. But for the Federation to allow themselves to be represented to the world by someone freshly sentenced to 3 years in prison, at one of FIFA's top events, well, that’ll really throw you for a loop. 

And all of this the day before the World Cup begins.