Unprecedented Measures in Place for Croatia Qualifier at Poljud

By 8 October 2019

October 8, 2019 - Unprecedented security measures are in place for the European qualifier between Croatia and Hungary at Poljud on Thursday. 

Slobodna Dalmacija announced that seats in the VIP lodge are reserved for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and all ministers - and it looks like Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, will also be coming to Split. But that's not the only reason security is on high alert. 

HNS took over Poljud Stadium on Monday, and until Friday, Poljud is exclusively in the service of the national team, which requires a special regime and security.

Hajduk moved to Brac for the week. This includes not only the first team, but also the offices and services, the entire working community, while the younger teams have been moved to other locations around Dalmatia. 

Hajduk has refused to participate in the organization of the national team match, and according to Croatian media, neither the Hajduk president Marin Brbić nor the vice-president Luksa Jakobusic will attend on Thursday.

Except for one case where the police found 45 tickets purchased by a single person, other such incidents have not been recorded. The Split-Dalmatia County Police Department exclaimed: ”If you do not have a ticket in your name, don't even come to the stadium."

Two to three rings of security have been announced at the stadium, and it is well known that the information on the ticket and ID must match. HNS allowed ticketholders to change the name on their ticket up to 48 hours before the match, but only within their family. Those who are not allowed to enter the stadium have the right to go to the box office and transfer the ticket to their spouse, brother, sister, child, parents, etc. 

Just how meticulous the security will be, remains to be seen.

It has been announced that Victor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, will attend the match with his private arrangement. The police are still awaiting official confirmation as Orban must receive proper treatment - and as much as the PM loves football, the protocol must be respected, and he cannot enter the stadium as a mere spectator. 

The seats in the VIP lodge are reserved for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrei Plenkovic, and all ministers.

Some claim that Split will witness the strongest security of a public event ever in the city. MUP will bring 500 police officers, and as of Wednesday, they will also monitor the city as two thousand Hungarian fans are expected. Police will also patrol all locations around the stadium. The caution has thus been raised to the highest level for this match, which is paid for by HNS. The final bill could reach up to three million kuna.

Police are already overseeing the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Podstrana, where the national team is staying, and will also be monitoring the guests. Nothing will be left to chance.

The field will be monitored from the air, by drones and helicopters, from the sea by warships and from the checkpoints around it. There will also be 500 security guards in the stands and near the pitch. Sokol Maric will lead the security, but other companies have been hired as well. The stands and pitch are monitored with 'sleep’ cameras, which are put into action only when there is activity. 

Split-Dalmatia County police say that everything is going well and that this security is necessary, considering 33,000 spectators and thousands of Hungarian fans are expected. Recall, at the end of May, there were 200 police officers when Croatia visited NK Omis - 150 of them monitoring the city, the hills, and the sea, and only 50 in the stadium.

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