UEFA Meets on Hvar, as Former Global Stars Play Local Schoolkids

By 21 September 2022
UEFA Meets on Hvar, as Former Global Stars Play Local Schoolkids
Romulic & Stojcic

September 21, 2022 - A nice promotion for Hvar as a sporting destination and elite conference centre, as UEFA chiefs and some rather famous faces from yesteryear meet on Croatia's premier island.

Did you know that the football tradition on the island of Hvar dates back more than a century, back to 1913 and the formation of the first club on the island. That is just 2 years later than the oldest club in Croatia, Hajduk Split, which was formed in Prague in 1911. 

Or that Hvar is thought to be the only island in Europe with a fully-functioning island league of 10 teams from 10 different towns and villages, who play each other home and away in the Forska Liga each season. No mean feat when you consider that the permanent population of the island is around 11,000 people. 

Another piece of island football history was written yesterday, as Hvar welcomed the UEFA Executive Committee for their latest meeting, headed by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin. On the agenda were the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying draw procedure, as well as the appointment of hosts for the UEFA European Under-19 Futsal Championships. 

Much more interesting to the local schoolkids was a grassroots event staged at NK Hvar's football pitch in the Krizna Luka suburb of the town, where some rather familiar faces took part in the UEFA Pootball in Schools programme, with local kids pitted against former global superstars such as Zvonimir Boban, Dario Srna, Davor Šuker, Luis Figo, Robbie Keane and Dejan Savićević. Children from schools in Hvar, Jelsa, Stari Grad and Sucuraj took part, as well as kids from the Down Syndrome 21 Association in Split. 

The event was the latest example of Hvar's elite tourism offer, catering to such a high-profile meeting point, and the location gave a tantalising taster of this sunniest of islands, which has more UNESCO heritage than any island in the world. 

The meeting took place in the historic Arsenal building, which has guarded the entrance to Hvar's central square for centuries, and above which is the oldest public theatre in Europe. Across the square, and where many of the delegation were hosted in addition to Hotel Adriana, was the place where organised tourism began in 1868, with the founding of the Hvar Health Society, which welcomed convalescing aristocrats from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thanks to the generosity of Empress Elisabeta. Today Elisabeta is remembered in the recently upgraded luxury hotel on the same spot which hosted the dignitaries. The Palace Elisabeth hvar heritage hotel was the first 5-star hotel on Hvar when it opened in 2019. It is part of the Suncani Hvar Hotel group, which offers the main conferencing and event management services on the island. 

Where to stay in Hvar Town? Check out the Total Croatia guide.


Tagged under: hvar