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 Index.hr 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. 

Friday, 13 July 2018

Dalić Asked How Country Without a Proper Stadium is in World Cup Final

Why doesn't Croatia have a proper stadium for national team matches?

Friday, 25 May 2018

Hajduk Sends Ironic Replica Cup Medals to HNS, Bans Executive Members from Poljud VIP

Hajduk hits at the Croatian Football Federation with guns blazing. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

After Split Mayor, Hajduk President Responds to Šuker: "You have become one of HNS biggest problems"

President of the Croatian Football Federation Davor Šuker has not had the best of luck in Dalmatia lately.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Football Selector Turned Millionaire - Davor Šuker a Volunteer?

Massive earnings in the Croatian Football Federation are officially a secret, although the Federation operates as a public body.

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