Federations, Politicians, and Athletes Condemn Split Water Polo Attack

By 10 February 2019

Three players from the Red Star Belgrade water polo team were attacked on the Split Riva on Saturday afternoon. 

“On behalf of the Croatian Water Polo Federation (HVS) and my personal name, I strongly condemn the incident that took place on the Split waterfront, where the Red Star water polo players were attacked. Every act of violence, ever, anywhere, and to anyone is simply unacceptable,” announced the Croatian Water Polo Federation in a press release signed by the executive director of the HVS, Perica Bukić, which was reported by HRT on February 9, 2019. 

“In the Regional Water Polo League, in the 11th season, as far as this competition is concerned, we have never had any incidents, attacks on athletes or their headquarters. After all, this attack occurred outside any possible authority of the body of this competition, since the attack occurred in the public space of the city, away from the sports arena and during the athlete's downtime. 

What I sincerely and deeply hope is that this incident will not affect the exceptionally correct relations between all the participants of the Regional League, all clubs and Federations, as well as the project of a joint sports competition that has so far proved very successful for all its stakeholders.

On the other hand, this has not been underestimated in the water polo community, and we are obliged to make an extra effort to do so again and again,” Bukić concluded in the statement posted on the HVS website.

The Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) also published a press release in which President of the HOO, Zlatko Mateša, reacted to the incident.

“In the name of the Croatian Olympic Committee and the entire Croatian sports family, I strongly condemn this hooligan act that has nothing to do with sport. The attack on athletes from other countries, who have only come to fulfill the club's obligations, does not even go in the same sentence with Split, which we call the ‘biggest sports city in the world’. It is high time that the state authorities and institutions are rigorously enforcing legal acts against hooliganism in sport and around sport because such defeats cast a considerable stain on Croatia as a world-renowned sporting and tourist destination,” reads the statement by the Croatian Olympic Committee. 

"Split is not and will not be a city that tolerates violence."

The attack on Belgrade athletes was condemned by numerous athletes and politicians, including Prefect Blaženko Boban and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, who said that Split is not and will not be a city that tolerates violence.

“I do not think anyone who does not hurt over such things is good. Such a person cannot say he loves his city, county or homeland,” said Prefect Boban.

“I condemn the attack on the three Red Star water polo players who wanted to enjoy the Split Riva today. Split is an open and welcoming city. We have proved this, and we will do everything to stay that way,” emphasized Mayor Krstulović Opara.

The game between Mornar and Red Star did not play in Split on Saturday evening. The presidents of the Croatian and Serbian Federations are looking to increase security measures also for the upcoming game between Croatia and Serbia in Sisak on March 12. 

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