Wednesday, 11 March 2020

HNS Confirms: All Croatian League Football Games Without Fans until March 31

March 11, 2020 - The management of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has adopted a new measure aimed at protecting spectators, clubs, players and competitions during the coronavirus outbreak.

The statement from the Croatian Football Federation is transmitted in full below:

“Taking into account the emerging circumstances regarding the epidemic of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, today the leading people of the HNS and the relevant bodies of the Federation have re-analyzed the current situation and decided that all matches in competitions under the jurisdiction of the HNS will be played without spectators until March 31.

The new measure applies to the HT First League, Croatian Cup, 2. HNL, 3. HNL, 1. HNLŽ, 2. HNLŽ, 1. HMNL, 2. HMNL and all youth leagues under the auspices of HNS, as well as the upcoming UEFA qualifying matches that take place in Croatia.

In these competitions, only teams with their staff, senior management and officials of clubs and HNS, technical staff and a certain number of media representatives will be able to attend the matches until further notice, with all the usual measures for organizing matches.

The HNS also recommends that all county associations take the same measure in competitions under their jurisdiction.

As before, the HNS will closely monitor the development of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus epidemic and, if necessary, determine other measures to which the football family and the public will be informed in due time. The decision shall enter into force immediately and shall be valid until March 31 or the end of the representative break. The Federation will make a timely decision to continue or discontinue this measure, taking into account developments, recommendations from public health institutions, and considering, above all, the health of spectators, football players and all other actors in football.

You can find the Croatia Football Federation's statement in Croatian here.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Zlatko Dalic Announces Croatia List for Doha Tournament

March 9, 2020 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalic has announced the list of players to compete in the Doha tournament against Portugal and Switzerland.

Three months before the upcoming Euro 2020, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has announced the first player list this year. There are two strong friendly matches ahead of Croatia this month, against Switzerland (March 26) and Portugal (March 30) at the tournament in  Doha, Qatar.

The tournament plans to go ahead, even though the spread of coronavirus around the world has already delayed many sporting events. While everything is going to plan, Croatian footballers playing in Italy may not be able to play in Qatar. Qatar, in fact, has introduced a two-week quarantine for all those coming from the countries most affected by the coronavirus alongside China.

Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic and Ante Rebic play in Lombardy, which has become a major quarantine, as well as Milan Badelj. Cristiano Ronaldo would not be allowed to play in Qatar either, and the real question is what the organizer will decide in the end.

"They are on the list, so they are going, but the situation is being monitored," HNS spokesman Tomislav Pacak said. 

Dalic put the strongest forces on the roster and said that they were acting as if everyone would be able to play and that the tournament would go according to plan.

"I sincerely hope that this will happen, that there will be no cancellation, but we will follow the course of the situation and act accordingly. We put a lot of players on the callup list if something that we can't influence happens."

Dalic said he is not bothered by the coronavirus at the moment. 

“I am not bothered and am acting like it's going to be OK. If it isn’t, then we'll react."

What does Dalic expect to see in these two games?

"I plan to give everyone a chance to play, to get minutes and to reunite, to see the players and in what condition they are. The agreement with Kalinic is that if he does not defend, we will replace him with Grbic. We'll try some systems and see what we can do. We don't have much time later and we have to make the most of it."

Croatian footballers have much better minutes this spring than in the fall.

"We have a better situation, and we cannot change it. The most important thing is that everyone is ready for the Euros.”

If the tournament in Qatar is delayed, does Dalic have a plan B?

"As far as I know, there is no decision. I cannot take a stand on this because I do not know and I am not competent. I repeat, we are working as if everything will be fine."


Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković (Dinamo), Lovre Kalinić (Toulouse), Simon Sluga (Luton Town)

Defenders: Domagoj Vida (Bešiktaš), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Tin Jedvaj (Augsburg), Mile Škorić (Osijek), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Marseille), Borna Barišić (Rangers), Šime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Dario Melnjak (Rizespor)

Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitić (Barcelona), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozović (Inter), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Nikola Vlašić (CSKA Moskva), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta)

Attackers: Ivan Perišić (Bayern), Ante Rebić (Milan), Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim), Bruno Petković (Dinamo)

Callups: Marko Rog (Cagliari), Filip Bradarić (Celta), Ivo Grbić (Lokomotiva), Josip Juranović (Hajduk), Domagoj Bradarić (Lille), Filip Benković (Bristol City), Mislav Oršić (Dinamo), Mirko Marić (Osijek) and Antonio Mirko Čolak (Rijeka)


To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Davor Suker Announces Friendly Against France, Euro 2020 Camp in Scotland

December 19, 2019 - Croatian Football Federation President Davor Suker spoke at the regular assembly in Zagreb on Thursday. 

"Honorable Members, Executive Board Members, Dear Guests, and Media Representatives,

I am glad to welcome you after another wonderful year for Croatian football.

With each new success, football is confirmed as one of Croatia's greatest values. Our jersey is the best gift you can give to any foreigner, and our football players are certainly the greatest ambassadors of the country abroad. Others want to learn from us because they are impressed with our system, our work and our results. This is a massive tribute to all of us who work in Croatian football and we can really be proud of that!

Our mood is highly dependent on the A-Team, and once again, they delighted us by qualifying for a big competition. Coach Dalic successfully rejuvenated the team after Russia while maintaining a recognizable togetherness and quality performance. This is precisely why we are very optimistic about the European Championships. Congratulations to the coach, staff and players on qualifying and I wish them good luck at the Euros.

The Federation will ensure maximum conditions for the national team, as it has always done. I believe our fans will enjoy London and Glasgow, and hopefully later across Europe.

EURO 2020 will be the 11th major competition for Croatia since independence. This continuity is the greatest confirmation that in Croatian football, success is not accidental but the result of systematic work, with the talent that we as a people have for team sports.

In the films, we will see some of the successes of our teams as well as some of the projects that the Federation has worked on in 2019, and you can find more details in the yearbooks on your tables. I don't want to repeat myself too much, but I have to mention a few more events.

Congratulations to our Under-18 national futsal team, who won the silver medal at the Under-19 European Championships, as well as to the seniors who qualified for the World Cup.

This fall, we were delighted by our young teams. Both the men's and women's U-19 and U-17 national teams qualified for the elite qualifying round for the Euros, a great success.

At the club level, the year was marked by Dinamo, which I congratulate in the Championship and excellent performances in Europe, both this spring in the Europa League and this autumn in the Champions League.

The successes weren't just on the pitch. It is a great honor for me to be representing the interests of our football for the next four years on the Executive Committee of Uefa, where many of our other officials are active.

We have successfully completed a demanding project to prepare the introduction of VAR technology in Croatian football. Congratulations to our Football Academy on their 20 years of service, as well as the many organizations and clubs that have celebrated their 100th anniversary this year. I want to emphasize the 100 years of the Zagreb Football Federation, which has made an immeasurable contribution to Croatian football.

I am proud of the humanitarian activities of our national teams and the Federation, as well as numerous activities with younger ages. With all the regular camps, we have supported the organization of more than 30 youth tournaments. We also continued investing in infrastructure with more than 15 million kuna distributed through inter-county football committees.

The results prove that HNS and Croatian football are doing a great job.

Therefore, I would like to thank all of you who work in clubs, counties and football centers and the Federation Office for your tremendous contribution to Croatian football, because without you there would be no such success.

Let's continue at the same pace and be proud!”

Following the Assembly, Suker addressed reporters, including HRT, revealing that the 2018 World Cup finalists would hold their Euro 2020 camp in Scotland, and that they would play a friendly against France at Stade France in June.

“The camp? It will be in the EU, near Glasgow," Suker said, adding that Croatia will play two games in March and another two in June.

“We will have a treat against France at Stade France in June, and we will play one game in Osijek. However, the appearance in the Doha tournament failed,” the HNS president revealed.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 6 December 2019

HNS is Ready: VAR to be Introduced in Croatian Football from Spring 2020

December 6, 2019 - The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has fulfilled all obligations required to start using the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system in Croatian football.

The Croatian Football Federation has completed all activities and referee training to introduce VAR technology into Croatian football, which is funded through the FIFA Forward program.

Namely, eleven Assistant Video Referees (VARs), thirteen Assistant VARs (AVARs), sixteen VAR Match Referees and five technicians have been trained.

Ante Kulušić, President of the HNS Football Referees Commission and VAR Project Manager for Croatia, submitted all final documentation, including a competition permission request to the International Football Federation Board (IFAB) and the World Football Federation (FIFA).

This fulfills all the obligations of the Croatian Football Federation necessary to start using the VAR technology in Croatian football.

"Congratulations to all who have participated in this challenging and extensive project and thanks to the Croatian Football Federation and Fifa for their great support. A lot of resources, effort and time have been put into the training, and we look forward to a positive IFAB response and the go-ahead to use VAR, as announced, from the spring part of the Croatian championship,” said Kulušić, who is also the vice president of HNS.

Recall, back in May this year, selected referees underwent complex training under the watchful eye of IFAB, an independent regulatory body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football, so that VAR would be ready to use in Croatian football in a year. 

"VAR technology is the most important and fastest revolution in modern football. It was used for the first time in 2016 and has been used in the most important games of the 2018  World Cup. Our vision for VAR technology and video aids is as little interference in the game as possible," IFAB Technical Director and former English football referee David Elleray said at the presentation of VAR technology in Sesvete then. 

All involved in this project agreed; the introduction of VAR technology is the most demanding project of HNS. Disagreements with referees, which have hovered over the Federation for years, generated many affairs that would have been minimized by introducing VAR.

The VAR room will include only the VAR Chief Referee, AVAR or Assistant Referee, and VAR Technician. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 20 September 2019

VAR Technology to Premiere in Croatia During Junior Croatian First League Match

After months of training, the VAR football technology will be used for the first time in Croatia on September 22, 2019.

Namely, the Croatian Football Federation announced at the end of 2018 that it would begin the training of assistant video referees and prepare for the introduction of VAR technology into Croatian football. After the extensive training of referees, VAR technology is finally ready to premiere at an official match, announced HNS on Friday.

Ante Kulušić, HNS Vice-President, President of the Football Refereeing Commission, and project leader for the introduction of VAR technology in Croatia, announced that the VAR technology would premiere at the Junior Croatian First League game between Rudeš and Hajduk. The match will be played on September 22 at Kranjčevićeva Street Stadium, starting at 11 am.

With this match, Croatia will open the final phase of training referees for the introduction of VAR technology, according to the schedule prescribed by FIFA and IFAB. Referees began training for VAR technology in January 2019, with plans that by the end of the autumn part of the current season, all referees who have reached the final stage of the education will meet the required conditions, so that they can begin using the VAR technology in the spring part of the season in matches of the Croatian First League.

The match between the juniors of Rudeš and Hajduk will be refereed by Ivan Bebek, with assistant referees Ivica Modrić and Igor Križarić and fourth official Fran Jović. The role of the Assistant Video Referee (VAR) will be performed by Goran Gabrilo, and his Assistant (AVAR) will be Miro Grgić.

The VAR technology project was funded by the FIFA program Forward.

The VAR is system/concept reviews decisions made by the head referee with the use of video footage and a headset for communication. The 2018 World Cup was the first tournament to use VAR at all matches and in all venues. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow. TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Davor Šuker Loses Confidence of HNS Executive Board

August 20, 2019 - Davor Šuker, the president of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), may not see the end of 2019 in that role.

According to a top source from HNS, Croatian media reported that Šuker was turned down by members of the Executive Board who rejected his proposal to remove Nenad Gračan as the coach of the Under-21 national team, and replace him with Goran Tomić, the current coach of Lokomotiva, writes and 24 Sata

All 12 HNS Executive Board members said "no" to Šuker's proposal. Marijan Kustić is expected to take Šuker’s spot, as he has been destined for that position since he first started working in Croatian football.

Former HDZ MP Marijan Kustić joined the Croatian Football Federation quietly as Damir Mišković’s candidate for president of the Federation in the election Šuker won at the time. But from day one, it has been clear that Kustić is a strong political figure, Plenković’s man for special tasks like Lika, where he fought for power with Darko Milinović, and was also the leader of the political project that is returning the Croatia national team to Split.

It quickly became apparent that Kustić was assuming the role of the top operative in the Federation, where Šuker was only the president on paper.

Marijan Kustić was the most prominent member of the HNS delegation who arrived to negotiate with Hajduk, and who said that major changes were taking place in Croatian football. Namely, it was inconceivable that the official premises of Poljud were once again friendly to Damir Mišković, Ante Kulusić, Ante Vučemilović and everyone else that made Hajduk boycott the Federation. 

Of course, Davor Šuker, the actual HNS president, was the only one not to visit Poljud.

Recall, Davor Šuker returned to Croatian football as Zdravko Mamić’s candidate in the scandalous elections for the president of HNS in 2010, when Vlatko Marković became a fictitious president, while Mamić was the absolute boss. Igor Štimac was his opponent, and the night before the election, Mamić pulled out Šuker as an ace up his sleeve. In his Bentley, Mamić brought Šuker to the polls as a special HNS guest.

Davor Šuker remains the president of HNS to this day, but his influence is diminishing as Damir Mišković and HDZ strengthen. Meanwhile, Šuker was stripped of his ability to sign major financial contracts by the Executive Board, which was also a sign that he did not rule the Federation any longer.

More on this story soon. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 24 June 2019

Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS Meet: National Team WILL Play at Poljud

June 24, 2019 - Hajduk, the City of Split, and HNS held a historic meeting at Poljud to discuss, among a laundry list of items, the Croatia national team’s arrival in Split for the first time since 2015, and just the third time in 20 years. 

The City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation met on Monday at 10:30 at Poljud Stadium in Split. The City, as the majority owner of the stadium, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to the meeting. The central theme was, of course, the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary on October 10, though equally as important was mending the relationship between Hajduk and HNS to better Croatian football for good. 

Eight HNS representatives came to Split, including Executive Director Marijan Kustić, and Vice Presidents Damir Misković and Ante Kulušić. The President of HNS, Davor Šuker, did not attend the meeting. Hajduk’s delegation was led by Marin Brbić and the City of Split by Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara. The police secured the meeting, and in total, 16 people participated.

The meeting did not end until almost 4 pm and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara was the first to address the media. 

“I am very pleased to announce that at today's meeting, HNS was able to agree with many of Hajduk's requests. We want to finally solve the problem of non-communication between HNS and Hajduk in favor of Croatian football and football in southern Croatia. I look forward to hosting the Croatia national football team in Split,” said Andro Krstulović Opara.

“I look forward to continued cooperation. I look forward to the Croatia national team at Poljud.”

Hajduk president Marin Brbić addressed the media next. 

"I'm pleased to say that we finally started communicating with HNS. We will discuss each issue individually. We've always wanted the national team here. Today we felt a hint that something might change. The national team was never disputed, and we will continue to monitor the development of the situation.

We had a good, quality meeting. It will take time to solve each item, but it is important that there is a will and desire. I look forward to the arrival of Hungary in Split in cooperation with the City, and we will work to include Hajduk.”

Hajduk will not participate in the organization of the match, and will join the moment problems begin to resolve, Brbić added.

Recall, Hajduk said on Saturday that “without any concrete changes in relations with HNS, they will not change their attitude" and will not participate in the organization of the match.

The City of Split, as the majority owner of the stadium, unanimously voted at last week's City Council session to host the match in Split, but with a preliminary apology from the top of HNS.

The HNS Executive Committee at its session on June 12 decided that the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be played at Poljud, but failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of their decision, which questioned the game happening in Split at all.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS to Hold Historic Meeting at Poljud on Monday

June 23, 2019 - On Monday, June 24, at 10:30 am, a meeting between the City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation will be held at Poljud. The City of Split, as the majority owner, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to attend the meeting, the Split club officially confirmed on Saturday. 

In their recent statement, Hajduk presented their position on relations between the Club and the Federation and consequently where the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be held. 

“On this occasion, HNK Hajduk clearly emphasizes how they firmly stand behind their statement and that their attitude will not change without any concrete changes in the relationship.

The Club is ready to actively participate in the meeting on Monday at Poljud exclusively to talk about the first steps towards more transparent and fairer relations with all clubs, to overcome the problems that have accumulated over the years. Only when these changes occur, or when we are convinced that the HNS leaders have translated their words into concrete actions, HNK Hajduk is ready to take on an active role in the process of organizing one of the next national team games,” Hajduk concluded on their official website

Recall, HNS announced that the Croatia national team would play their next home qualifier for Euro 2020 against Hungary at Poljud, though they failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of the news. As you can imagine, this was considered poor play by the Federation who is allegedly ‘trying’ to mend the relationship with Hajduk and Split. You can read more about that here. 

Whether the game would be played in Split at all seriously came into question as a result of the saga, and Hajduk released a statement rejecting that they were the obstacle standing in the way of it happening at all. 

“We have repeatedly stated that we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud. However, how HNS communicates with the Club and its supporters, the City of Split and its inhabitants, has been the reason why for several years, and especially recently, we have reason to doubt whether the Federation’s decision is sincere and of good intentions. Moreover, the question is whether the Croatian Football Federation is aware of the real mood of the fans in Split and Dalmatia,” Hajduk said. 

About the fans in the region, the club went on to say that the game shouldn’t be forced under these circumstances or organized at all costs, and that the national team does not deserve to be exposed to such division, but an atmosphere of communion and the unity of fans.

“The Croatian national team has not played in Split for too long. From 1998 until now, there were 66 official matches in Croatia, of which only two were played in Split! Of these two, one was played without fans. Therefore, the next national team appearance at Poljud deserves an atmosphere of strong support, without the unresolved problems in Croatian football. The Croatian Football Federation must accept its part of the responsibility for it, and not incorrectly transfer all of the responsibility to HNK Hajduk and the City of Split with the view that ’it is all on them, whether they want the national team in Split or not’.

We can achieve this goal, but only in an atmosphere of mutual respect, reasoned dialogue, and clear and measurable goals for the prosperity of all Croatian football. Croatia is ours and we want it at Poljud."

You can read the statement in its entirety here

HNK ended by inviting HNS's executive director Marijan Kustić to a meeting where HNK Hajduk would present their attitudes and intentions.

“Open conversations and an atmosphere of real dialogue have no alternative. They are a prerequisite for solving the accumulated problems.”

A few days after Hajduk’s press release, the Split City Council announced the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud but also expects changes at the root of HNS. 

With 25 votes for (from 26 councilors), the council unanimously decided that Croatia would play against Hungary at Poljud. However, changes at the root of HNS's relationship with the City of Split and Hajduk was demanded, as is an apology from HNS and a quick agreement from the Federation that all sides would get together as soon as possible.

You can read the City of Split’s statement in full below:

The Split City Council wants the Croatia national football team in our town for the official qualification match against the national team of Hungary at Poljud stadium.

The Split City Council demands from the Croatian Football Federation a rooted change in the current relationship between the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation towards the City of Split and the Croatian football club Hajduk, which is best reflected by the fact that Croatia has only played two official matches in Split in the last 20 years, one of which was played without the public.

Due to the many years of an inappropriate and unacceptable relationship with our city and club, an apology by the Croatian Football Federation is needed as an act of goodwill and a step towards recovering Croatian football and strengthening its communion.

In the interest of Croatian football, we are looking for an agreement at a meeting between the Croatian Football Federation and HNK Hajduk, in the presence of representatives of the City of Split, related to achieving a solution for the numerous deviations and the accumulation of problems that have burdened Croatian football for a long time, as well as an agreement on organizing the desired football match in our city of Split, said the Split City Council.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

HNS Wins Prestigious UEFA "GROW" Award for Digital Strategy Project 'Family'

At the UEFA “GROW” awards ceremony held in Riga, the Croatian Football Federation won first place for their digital strategy project “Family” for the best engagement with fans. The Croatian Federation competed against 20 other Federations in this category. 

Saturday, 6 October 2018

HNS Opens Competition for New National Team Coat of Arms

The Croatian Football Federation is looking to change the national team’s coat of arms after their achievement at the 2018 World Cup. 

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