Saturday, 25 June 2022

Croatian Police, Dinamo, Hajduk, and HNS Discuss Fan Safety at Croatian Super Cup in Zagreb

June 25, 2022 - The Croatian Police, Dinamo, Hajduk, and HNS discussed fan safety ahead of the Croatian Super Cup in Zagreb between the two clubs on July 9. 

A meeting of the Police Directorate and competent persons was held in front of Dinamo, Hajduk, and the Croatian Football Federation. The first derby of the season is being played as part of the Super Cup on July 9, and the goal is to prevent the incidents that accompanied last season's derbies.

The HNS press release is transmitted in its entirety below:

"On Friday, June 24, 2022, a working meeting was held on the official premises of the Police Directorate to prepare and implement security for the upcoming Super Cup football match between GNK Dinamo Zagreb and HNK Hajduk Split.

In addition to the representatives of the Police Directorate, the persons in charge of security on behalf of the Croatian Football Federation and the football clubs Dinamo and Hajduk participated in the meeting and discussed all segments of security preparation and implementation that affects security in this football match.

Namely, the Police Directorate declared the football match a high-security risk match and all participants in the meeting agreed on the importance of making every effort to play the match in the atmosphere of a football sports spectacle in which sport will be at the forefront with all necessary security measures for all participants and spectators." 

Recall, football fans and Croatian police clashed after Dinamo Zagreb beat Hajduk 3:1 in the final match of the season one month ago. Dinamo celebrated the Croatian championship title in front of their fans at Maksimimr Stadium, as Hajduk fan group Torcida remained outside protesting a new Dinamo banner rule. Later that evening, fans and police clashed at the Desinec rest area along the Zagreb-Split motorway. As a result, four men sustained shotgun wounds, and 35 people were injured. Forty-two people were in investigative custody and only released 9 days ago. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatian Football League Transfer News: Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, Osijek, and More

June 22, 2022 - A look at the latest Croatian Football League transfer news ahead of the 2022/23 season. 

The summer transfer season is heating up as Croatian clubs look to enhance their squads ahead of the 2022/23 season. A look at who Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, Osijek, and Šibenik have brought in so far. 

Dinamo

Boško Šutalo is a new Dinamo player, arriving as a reinforcement in the stopper position. It is increasingly likely that current Dinamo player Josip Šutalo will leave the club.

Boško Šutalo comes from Atalanta, and Dinamo allegedly paid 3 million euros for the transfer. The 22-year-old Croat thus becomes one of the most expensive reinforcements in Dinamo's history. 

Šutalo was born in Metković, played for Neretva and Split, and in 2018 went to Osijek. He was transferred to Serie A, signed for Atalanta, and played on loan last season.

"I am very happy to come to Dinamo. Dinamo is the most successful Croatian club that achieves significant success every season in Croatian competitions and Europe," Šutalo said.

"I will do my best in the Dinamo jersey in every game. I will fight for the club. I hope we will have great support from the fans in everything ahead of us this season, and I am sure that great moments await us," concluded Šutalo, who has signed a four-year contract with Dinamo. 

Hajduk

Toni Borevković is a new Hajduk player. On Sunday, the 25-year-old stopper underwent medical examinations in Zagreb and joined Hajduk's preparations in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria. Borevković joins Hajduk on a one-year loan with the right to buy his contract from the Portuguese first division club Vitoria de Guimaraes. He will wear the number 5 for Hajduk.

Borevković was born on June 18, 1997, in Slavonski Brod and began his football career at Marsonia. In 2012, he transferred to Dinamo, where he played until 2016, followed by Rudeš, where he played notably for the next three seasons and collected over sixty official appearances.

He transferred to the Portuguese city of Rio Ave in 2018 and recorded over 80 official appearances in three seasons. In the last season, he joined the ranks of Vitoria de Guimaraes, for which he played 24 games.

"My ambitions coincide with Hajduk. I came here to fight for the title. I followed Hajduk and the First HNL last season; I am glad that we won the trophy and were a little short of taking the second. I believe we can make that happen in the new season. I come ready for the preparations. I will immediately join the training, and I can only tell the fans that I will do my best in every training session and game," said Toni after signing for Hajduk.

Rijeka

Mario Vrančić is a new Rijeka player. Last season, Vrančić played for Stoke City in the Championship. Mario is an offensive midfielder and arrived in Rijeka on a one-year loan with the possibility of buying his contract.

Behind Vrančić is an impressive career in which he played for Mainz, Paderborn, Darmstadt, Norwich City, and Stoke City. However, Rijeka is a new station, a new opportunity to prove himself, and a great challenge. Vrančić has already played with Josip Drmić, Antonio Čolak, and Roman Bezjak in his career.

"I am very happy to be a new player of Rijeka. This is a new challenge for me. I chose Rijeka because I have a very good feeling," said Mario. 

Mateo Pavlović also signed with Rijeka on Wednesday. Pavlović arrived in Rijeka from French club Amiens and joined the first team. 

"I am happy and excited to be in Rijeka. The main reason for my arrival was that I felt that the people in the club wanted me, they showed great will and desire and that was decisive. I can't wait to wear the jersey and prove myself on the pitch," said Mateo Pavlović.

Mateo has played for Zagreb, Werder, Ferencvaros, Angers and Amiens.

Osijek

Damjan Bohar is no longer a player of Osijek. An agreement was reached on his transfer to Polish first league club Zaglebie Lubin, from which the occasional Slovenia national team player joined Osijek less than two years ago. Bohar mutually terminated his contract, and he should spend at least two seasons in Poland. 

Although he arrived in Međimurje for Osijek preparations, Mirlind Daku will go on loan again from Osijek. Daku joined Slovenian first division team Mura, where he also spent the spring half-season. 

Šibenik

Duje Čop arrived in Šibenik and agreed on a one-year loan from Dinamo after it expired in Celje, Slovenia.

This will be the 11th club in Čop's senior career, and he returns to Dalmatia after 10 years, where he left RNK Split in 2012. The 32-year-old striker has already joined Šibenik's team in the preparations in Slovenia with their new coach Damir Čanadi.

"The former Vatreni, as well as the former top scorer and player of the HNL, is coming on a one-year loan from Dinamo. We wish him a lot of luck and goals in the orange jersey," reads a short post on Šibenik's Facebook profile about the transfer. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Croatian Clubs Learn First Champions League and Conference League Opponents

June 15, 2022 - Croatian clubs have learned their opponents in the upcoming Champions League and Conference League season. A look at what Dinamo, Hajduk, Osijek, and Rijeka have in store. 

In the second qualifying round of the Champions League, Croatian football champion Dinamo will play against the winner of the first qualifying round between North Macedonian club Shkupi and Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar. The draw was held in Nyon on Wednesday. 

Dinamo will host the first match, which will take place on July 19 or 20. The return match will be played on July 26 or 27. Dinamo thus avoided the Swiss champion Zurich and Slovan from Bratislava.

Dinamo will be the leader through all preliminary rounds. If they are successful in the second qualifying round, they are automatically guaranteed to play in the Conference League group stage, while entering the Champions League play-offs guarantees them the Europa League group stage. 

Later in the day, Osijek and Rijeka found out their rivals in the second qualifying round of the Conference League, while Hajduk will join the competition in the third qualifying round.

Osijek will play against Kyzylzhar from Kazakhstan, while Rijeka will play against the Swedish Djurgarden in the 2nd qualifying round of the Conference League.

The first matches will be played on Thursday, July 21, and the return matches one week later, on July 28.

This means that Osijek will play the first game in Kazakhstan, and play the return match at City Garden a week later, while Rijeka will play the first game at Rujevica.

The Kazakh championship is underway, and Osijek's rival is currently in 11th place. The Swedish Championship is also underway and Djurgarden is currently in fourth place.

Hajduk Split will start the competition in the 3rd qualifying round and learn their opponent only in July. Hajduk gathered for their first preseason training today. 

Coach Valdas Dambrauskas answered questions from numerous media representatives who came to see Hajduk at the training session held at Poljud Stadium.

"We did a good job last season, but we have to prepare for the future. Yes, we play for trophies, we play to make people happy and to have reasons to celebrate, but from today we have to talk about the next games, training, and meetings. What we have done is a part of the past. It is important for the club, but it remains in the past. We need to focus on the new season and new challenges and prepare to be in the best position to win," said Dambrauskas 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

2021/22 HNL Second Highest Scorer Josip Drmić Signs with Dinamo from Rijeka

June 8, 2022 -  Josip Drmić is a new Dinamo player. The 29-year-old striker has signed a professional contract with the Croatian champions and will join the first team at a gathering in mid-June.

Drmić arrived at Dinamo as the second scorer of the HNL last season with 21 goals in the Rijeka jersey. Until 2019, the talented offensive player wore the Norwich jersey while he arrived on loan to Rijeka in February 2021. He played 55 games for Rijeka, with 32 goals and five assists, announces Dinamo.

 

In the last season, he made 30 appearances in the HNL, three in the Croatian Cup, and four in the qualifications for the UEFA Conference League. He scored a total of 25 goals in all three competitions.

Earlier in his career, he gained extensive international playing experience with FC Zürich, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, FC Nuremberg, Hamburger SV, and Norwich. In the recently concluded 2021/22 season, the experienced goal scorer was close to the title of the league's top scorer. With a handful of fantastic actions and goals, his hat-trick against Šibenik at the end of the season stands out. 

With the experience gained in playing in the Bundesliga earlier in his career, Drmić has proved his exceptional quality, excellent playing skills, and certainly a desirable class in scoring goals during his time in Croatia. 

In addition to his club career, Drmić has been a member of the Swiss national team since 2012, for which he scored 10 goals in 35 games.

"I am thrilled and proud of this moment. Dinamo is the best Croatian club, the Croatian champion continuously wins trophies in domestic competitions, and performs regularly in European competitions. This season, the championship was extremely tense, the quality of players and teams was raised, and the final was very interesting and a bit uncertain, but in the end, Dinamo deservedly celebrated the title and confirmed they are the best in Croatia. I will personally do my best to thank the club for the trust they have gained in their games and goals. I believe that Dinamo will continue with good results in the new season through the Super Cup match, then the Championship and the Cup, and through the qualifications for the Champions League. The goals of the club are very high, but the quality of the players, staff, and the whole team is also high. With the support of Dinamo fans, as it was especially this season, I am sure that success will not be lacking," said Josip Drmić after signing the contract.

You can watch a video presentation and a short conversation with the new Dinamo player below:

 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Saturday, 28 May 2022

HNS President Comments on Fan Safety Meeting in Croatia: "Fans Supported, Hooligans Condemned"

May 28, 2022 - A fan safety meeting in Croatia was held between HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo on Friday after the clash between Torcida and the police last weekend. HNS president Marijan Kustić weighs in on the progress made. 

The recent riots on the A1 motorway near the Desinec rest area resulted in dozens of injured fans and police officers, while four fans suffered gunshot wounds. More than 40 people are currently in pre-trial detention. The Croatian Football Federation invited representatives of Hajuk, Dinamo, but also the Police Directorate to a meeting on Friday

The goal of the meeting was to find a way to avoid this scenario from happening again. The incident is considered the worst conflict between police and fans since Croatia's independence. RTL's Andrija Jarak spoke exclusively about the conclusions of the meeting with the head of the Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

Kustić said that he was happy with the direction in which the conversation was going.

"We all agreed on some things unanimously that we have to do in the future. What is very important is that we agreed that we all have to respect the regulations that exist regarding the protocol, and that the Federation and the Police Directorate will sign an agreement where operational meetings will be held before high-risk matches before the protocol is respected and clubs definitely have an obligation to communicate with fans.

We will also send a letter to the fans or involve the fans in the meeting to express an opinion on some things that they think should be fixed. We must all do everything together to ensure the safety of the fans. It is in our interest to bring it to the highest level," said Kustić.

When asked if this means that the duty and obligations between the Federation, the police, and the organizers will be divided, Kustić answered in the affirmative.

"We all agreed on that. We all have to respect the regulations, they are the same for everyone, and the protocol is known. We will work on some things soon and I am definitely glad that we agreed on those things," he said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 27 May 2022

Fan Safety in Croatia: HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo Reach Three Conclusions

May 27, 2022 - Fan safety in Croatia was discussed at the Croatian Football Federation between HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo. 

A meeting of Croatian Football Federation representatives was held today on the Croatian Football Federation premises, led by President Marijan Kustić, Police Directorates headed by Chief of Police Nikola Milin, and GNK Dinamo and HNK Hajduk, led by Presidents Vlatka Peras and Lukša Jakobušić. The meeting was held on the topic of security and the organization of football matches, reports HNS.

In a constructive atmosphere and after exchanging views, the following conclusions were reached:

1. All stakeholders in football matches are invited to comply with safety regulations at sports competitions.

2. An agreement will be concluded between the Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Football Federation on implementing measures at high-risk matches and matches where a larger number of visiting fans is expected. In doing so, existing good practices from domestic and international matches will be taken into account. The agreement will be drawn up until the beginning of the new competition year, i.e., the Super Cup match.

3. Fan clubs will be invited to get involved in drafting the said agreement by giving their suggestions and pointing out the problems identified.

It was also agreed that representatives of the Federation, clubs, and the police would constantly communicate regarding the preparation and conduct of football competitions.

"I must emphasize that the term 'freedom to the fans' does not refer to those fans who in any way cause riots, who in any way participate in dishonorable acts and there are institutions for that. This refers to those unjustly detained and I hope that will be determined in the end. We are a fan club, not only do we have an obligation, but we stand firmly behind them. That is why we responded to this meeting," said Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić after the meeting with HNS, Dinamo, and police representatives.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Hajduk, Dinamo, HNS Official Statements after Torcida Motorway Clash with Police

May 24, 2022 - TCN brings the official statements of the Croatian police, Torcida, GNK Dinamo, HNK Hajduk, and HNS after the Torcida motorway clash with police on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, Dinamo Zagreb beat Hajduk 3:1 in the final match of the season. Dinamo celebrated the Croatian championship title in front of their fans at Maksimimr Stadium, as Hajduk fan group Torcida remained outside protesting a new Dinamo banner rule. Later that evening, Torcida and police clashed at the Desinec rest area along the Zagreb-Split motorway. As a result, four men sustained shotgun wounds, and 35 people were injured. Forty-two people remain in investigative custody. 

TCN brings you the official statements from each organization. 

The Croatian Police were the first to comment on the incident on Sunday (Source: HRT)

The Deputy Director-General of the General Police Security Damir Barić, the Head of the Public Order and Security Sector of the Zagreb Police Administration Davor Posilović, and the Deputy County State's Attorney in Velika Gorica Dražen Diklić spoke. They were accompanied by the Commander of the Special and Intervention Police Unit, Mario Bencek, the Head of the Organized Crime Processing Department, Midhad Arifović, and the Head of the Reporting Analytics and Public Relations Department, Marija Goatti.

"I would like to emphasize a few important facts directly related to the events at the Desinec station. Public order and peace were disturbed to a greater extent, and the police acted accordingly. As everyone knows, the Dinamo-Hajduk match was played last night. It is a high-risk event for us, and we take it seriously. We have experienced employees with extensive experience in securing such matches. The security was managed by the Chief of the Police Administration himself, so this is the highest possible level. We consider the implementation plan to be very good, and a sufficient number of police officers have been engaged. The proof is that the whole season with a series of high-risk matches was done without incidents," said Damir Barić on Sunday.

"We notice from the media that the fact that fans couldn't bring banners into the stadium is stated as a potential cause of the events in Desinac. Four days ago, the match organizer informed the fans about the entry procedure with banners. Before the game, it was necessary to bring a banner for inspection, but Hajduk fans turned a deaf ear to it and wanted to enter the stadium directly. The police are there only in the role of securing and enforcing the organizers' decisions, so it has nothing to do with the police. After the banners were not allowed in, all Hajduk fans stayed out of the stadium and, at one point, expressed a desire to go to Split. We organized a caravan. The entire route to Split was secured," he added.

"There was no indication that something like this would happen, but at one point, the fans blocked all three traffic lanes and launched an attack on police officers. Colleagues were outnumbered; there were 16 police officers and several hundred perpetrators. The attack was aggressive, using various objects, such as batons, bottles, stones, chains, fire extinguishers, and everything they found in the gas station area. When they did not calm down on the orders, the police fired several shots to call for help and as a warning to stop the attack. The fans then stopped at one point, and other forces managed to come and work on establishing public order. Several fans were involved in the attacks, but several police officers also acted differently. We are working intensively on establishing all the facts, there are many activities, and it takes time to process all the events and information. I want to emphasize various articles in the media, such as those that "Mamić's police acted last night." We find this extremely offensive, especially when we have about 20 injured employees. Last night, the police did their job to protect public order and peace and protect the lives of all. The attack was also carried out with flares, and you know what an open flame at a gas station means; imagine that there was a fire and an explosion at a gas station. The most important thing was the danger for everyone in the area," concluded the Deputy Chief of Police for General Security Barić.

Chief of the Zagreb Police Administration Marko Rašić added:

"There was nothing to indicate that something like this would happen. Until this incident, everything was in the best order; we detained about 20 people. Four police officers used firearms, three fired only into the air, and one fired 11 shots into the concrete surface. Two fans were injured after the bullets bounced off the concrete. After that, the police wanted to help the attacked colleagues, but the fans also stopped them, so they were forced to shoot. One police officer fired two bullets into the air to help colleagues surrounded at the gas station, where fans had already managed to insert a flammable torch into their vehicle. The situation was such that it was good that the police officers were not set on fire in the official vehicle. After that, help arrived, and public order and peace were established; the fans were restrained. Some fans crossed the lane that goes from the south, where the Zadar Police Department officers pushed them not to endanger their own lives and the lives of others.

Firearms injured two fans, one had severe injuries in the shin, and the other was only bruised and had minor injuries. We have information that another fan with a broken foot called us in Split today; as far as we know, he was treated and not kept for treatment, so I guess it is a minor injury. We also received information that another fan contacted the doctors; it could also be a gunshot wound, so all four of them probably have gunshot wounds. A total of 35 people were injured. The investigation ended after 11 am; more than 100 cases were processed, and further expertise will follow. So far, 43 fans have been detained, and a criminal investigation is underway; there is a suspicion that they committed the act of causing riots," said Rašić.

Torcrida came out with an official response a few hours later (Source: Torcida Split Facebook)

Hajduk's 'Torcida Split' fan club demands that Croatian state institutions carefully investigate and sanction several illegal, inhumane, and tactless actions by the Dinamo Football Club leadership and members of the Croatian police, which led to an incident in which - for the first time in history - several citizens were injured by gunshots. We warn that this case is an escalation of many years of violence and torture to which fans have been exposed for many years, very often thanks to the conspiracy of corrupt members or associates of the convicted criminal organization in football and close personnel from police structures, as well as persons from this system who at least unknowingly assist them.

Hajduk 'Torcida Split' fan club reminds us on this occasion that:

- Croatian police are obliged to secure football matches and not to 'assist their organizers' in enforcing illegal, arbitrary, and absurd restrictions when fans enter the stadium,
- Croatian police are obliged to monitor the implementation of the law, which, among other things, prescribes the obligation to match organizers to ensure the expected arrival of fans at the stadium on time,
- the Croatian police are obliged to ensure freedom of movement and freedom of expression of the opinions of Croatian citizens, as well as their dignity, and not to suppress them by their actions. Food and water and the basic physiological needs are the minimum unless the Croatian police believe that fans, for some reason, do not have the right to do so,
- the Croatian police are obliged to protect the citizens of Croatia, not to shoot at them, beat everything that shows signs of life, indiscriminately harass with tear gas, and destroy their vehicles with batons. They are obliged and paid to behave according to the law, not like a gang.

Instead, the joint action of the Zagreb Police Administration and Dinamo Administration prevented us from coming to the match yesterday. It is absurd to comment on the demands of the Dinamo management regarding the introduction of banners in the south stand of Maksimir Stadium. Still, for the sake of the public, we will present only some of their pearls. For example, the Dinamo management required that all banners measuring more than 100x200 cm not only had to be registered 48 hours before the match but also had to be brought to the stadium before it officially opened and placed on the podium (where I guess the Maksimir guards should keep them until we enter the stadium, somewhere at the end of the first half).

Furthermore, although the Zagreb Police Department is washing its hands of responsibility in this case, the time of arrival at Maksimir Stadium depends exclusively on the assessment and actions of the police who provide the route by which visiting fans are transported to the stadium and decides when that column of fans will leave under police escort from the toll booths in Lučko. It does not depend on Torcida when they come to the visiting tribune of Maksimir Stadium but on the police. By its actions, the Zagreb Police Department only gave the Dinamo management a reason to justify why it forbids us to bring banners and other fan props to the stadium, acting in this case as an extended arm of the Dinamo management. Since the Dinamo management is controlled from Medjugorje, it is evident in what rhythm the Zagreb Police Department is dancing.

After all, we saw the same scenario years earlier, when the same club created illegal and completely unfounded 'blacklists' of fans who were prevented from accessing the stadium, in which police officers also assisted them on Zdravko Mamić's official and unofficial payroll.

After refusing to enter the stadium in their rhythm and according to their rules, every entrance to the gas station on the highway was blocked by the police. No one from the police considered it necessary to give information when they would allow us to stop at a gas station or rest area. Although the whole day, according to the police, was fair and without incidents, instead of talking to the fans, the police chose bans, and water, food, and drink for more than a thousand and a half of them was to be provided upon arrival in Split, I guess. As if it was not enough to keep them hungry, thirsty, and without basic human and hygienic conditions for more than five hours.

They reacted to the justified revolt with violence and the use of firearms in a way that the competent institutions are obliged to announce.

The random shooting and firing of dozens of bullets at Croatian citizens who had previously been denied fundamental human rights and dignity is an unprecedented example of abuse of the police system and the culmination of the repression to which Hajduk fans have been subjected for years. So far, we have naively believed that at least they do not want to kill us physically. Unconvincing and bizarre explanations about the fans who landed at the gas station out of pure peace and the bullets that 'bounced off the floor' probably speak for themselves. It is only necessary to re-listen to the deceptions and miserable attempts to camouflage at today's police press conference. And hear a notorious lie even when it comes to basic, easily verifiable data. For example, none of the shot citizens were injured at the famous gas station but among a column of cars stopped on the highway.

It should be said that even after the situation calmed down, the treatment of fans did not change at all: on the contrary, with the arrival of police reinforcements, indiscriminate and random beatings of fans and all citizens who happened to be nearby, pulling them out of vehicles in the rain and throwing them on the floor, unreasonably destroying vehicles, tear gas terror and mass, unfounded arrests. Dozens of entirely innocent citizens were injured in this arrogant demonstration of force, many with broken arms, legs, and heads, and few dared even to report the injury. To whom, after all? And what would he get besides apprehension and reporting, perhaps a promise that the police would forgive them for beating them?

There are no official reports, recordings, or witnesses about all this, nor have we heard explanations from police chiefs, nor - instructed by previous experiences - do we expect investigations and sanctions of those responsible for grossly exceeding the authority of police officers. However, the Hajduk Fans Club 'Torcida Split' will never accept the attempt to limit the human rights of its members, Hajduk fans, and all Croatian citizens.

Every blow strengthens us!

Dinamo didn't wait long to make a statement after Toricda... (Source: GNK Dinamo website)

After witnessing the violence that took place last night on the A1 motorway, which Hajduk fans justify with alleged unreasonable decisions by Dinamo, we want to explain why HNK Hajduk fans did not want to enter the Dinamo - Hajduk derby match played on May 21, 2022, at Maksimir.

We signed an agreement with HNK Hajduk on the sale of tickets for our match, according to which Hajduk was to distribute 2,000 tickets for the Maksimir Stadium south stands. According to the contract, Hajduk had to submit a list of fans to whom they sold tickets 24 hours before the start of the match. They submitted that list on the day of the game - Saturday morning. There were 1397 people on the list who were sold tickets.

Furthermore, instructed by taking advantage of our hospitality in December 2021 when a choreography of one look was announced, and then after entering the stands another choreography was performed that emphasized hatred towards our club, we made instructions for visiting fans explaining everything - from general information about the opening hours of the stadium to specific information regarding the review and introduction of banners on the podium. We emphasize that the complete lie is that the introduction of banners is prohibited; there are only specific rules according to which banners can be brought into the stadium. They were indeed told when they should come to the entrance, how they should report the banners, what time, to which official e-mail address they should contact, and the like. Considering that it is below the level of official Dinamo communication to communicate with the Hajduk fan group, we sent all the instructions by e-mail on 18/05/2022 to our colleagues at HNK Hajduk. Since nothing was delivered to the e-mail until Friday, 20/05/2022, we again invited our Hajduk colleagues in writing to help influence their fans to provide us with everything we asked for. Again nothing happened, nor did they contact us. An hour and a half before the start of the match, HNK Hajduk sent an invitation to the GNK Dinamo security commissioner, during which he was informed that Torcida had not reported any of the banners and that they were bringing larger banners, drums, and other fan props. At that moment, they received an answer from us that they would not be allowed to enter the fan props because they did not report them according to the instructions. At the entrance to the south stands, the Dinamo representative spoke with Torcida's lawyer, who did not introduce himself in person and who told him orally that Dinamo was right in this decision. Arriving at the stadium entrance, fans who had tickets were invited to enter the stadium without unregistered banners, but they refused. After a while, they peacefully left the area in front of Maksimir Stadium. 

We remind the public that the same play was performed in 2014 when Hajduk players refused to play a match against Dinamo because we did not want to sell tickets to high-risk Hajduk fans, according to criteria established by the police, following the Law on Prevention of Disorders at Sports Competitions. Unfortunately, less than six months later, Hajduk sold tickets to their fans according to these criteria, which is why they did not play the game at Maksimir, and they still do today.

After taking advantage of our correctness in December 2021, attacking a bus with our players, and a convoy with our fans in March 2022, it was time to say ENOUGH - enough of the violence Torcida carries out in its actions. You can do it all over Croatia - Koprivnica, Osijek, Rijeka, or Šibenik, but in Zagreb and at Maksimir Stadium, you will not. Follow the rules or watch the match from Borongaj. It's all the same to us. 

And so did Hajduk on Sunday evening (Source Gol.hr)

HNK Hajduk condemns all violence. After last night's unfortunate events and scenes in which several people were injured in a clash between fans and the police, we call on everyone in Croatian football for reason, dignity, and peace.

We are sorry to have been deprived yesterday of the energy and support our fans have given us throughout the season. Still, we understand that this is the culmination of all the discriminatory decisions that have been going to the detriment of our fans in away games for years.

We believe that the real problems and causes that led to the unwanted consequences and almost to the tragic outcome must be clearly detected. Hajduk is ready to help all social actors who want a real solution to this problem.

On Thursday, Poljud will be the big sports stage and the final gathering of the exciting season with the Croatian Football Cup final. We invite everyone to join us in Split and that we all enjoy the spectacle and emotions that only Hajduk and Poljud can offer.

From now on, we are entirely focused on preparing for the final, and just like the entire Croatian public, we are waiting for answers.

HNS finally made a statement on Tuesday (Source: HNS website)

The Croatian Football Federation strongly condemns all forms of violence, in and out of stadiums. A responsible organization will continue to systematically and resolutely carry out activities to eradicate any inappropriate behavior from football.

We are saddened by the incident on Saturday on the A1 motorway near the "Desinec" rest area during the caravan of HNK Hajduk fans from Zagreb to Split. The Croatian Football Federation wishes all the wounded and injured, including 20 police officers, a successful and complete recovery.

As the incident took place far from the football stadium, i.e., outside the jurisdiction of the Federation, HNS did not have all the information in addition to that published in the media, which is why it was in no hurry to appear in public.

However, HNS has been actively participating in the entire process since Saturday night and is in direct contact with HNK Hajduk, GNK Dinamo, and the Croatian Police Directorate. HNS calls all parties involved to open and constructive cooperation to calm tensions.

To that end, the Federation invited the leaders of Hajduk and Dinamo and representatives of the Police Directorate to a meeting on Friday, May 27, at the HNS headquarters. The Federation will be an active partner to clubs and the Croatian Police in creating an atmosphere of dialogue, which we see as the best way to solve all existing challenges.

The efforts of HNS so far have resulted in a significant reduction in inappropriate and punishable behavior of fans in the Croatia national team matches, and a positive trend was visible in the just-concluded HT First League season. Therefore, we are convinced that the upcoming football matches - the Cup final and the Croatia national team matches against Austria and France - will be in a positive atmosphere as we have witnessed in recent years.

The Federation will continue to act proactively - by organizing security conferences, the work of the Security Commission, and programs to prevent fan violence. All HNS activities have a common desire for open communication - with clubs, the police, the judiciary, the media, and fan groups. Only by working together, with responsibility for our words and deeds, can we encourage the positive changes that the entire Croatian society expects from us.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović also commented on Tuesday (Source: HINA)

"Stadiums have to be a venue for entertainment, enjoyment, and peace, which is played according to the rules defined by politics. It's not the police in Great Britain that brought the peace but Thatcher and her cabinet. That is far too much pressure for the police.

When the government makes that decision, when it takes a pill for courage, then Torcida and BBB and the others (football fans) will act differently and with respect. That's where we have to start from," said Milanović and added that the government would have his full support in that regard.

"It is unbelievable to me that it came to the situation that the police used firearms. There is an entire range of 'riot control' means that suppresses that behavior - rubber bullets. To shoot from a revolver at people regardless of how many people were involved and how wrong they were. Who planned that? That's unthinkable. Those people could have been dead. This is a problem for the government.

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

Sunday, 22 May 2022

HNL Round 36 Recap: 2021/22 Croatian Championship Comes to an End

May 22, 2022 - The 36th and final round of the Croatian First League was held on May 20 and 21. Dinamo already clinched the title last weekend, though the season ended with the Dinamo-Hajduk derby at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. Here is our HNL round 36 recap. 

Istra 1961 v. Slaven Belupo (3:1)

Istra and Belupo opened the 36th round on Friday, May 20, in Pula. 

While the first half went without goals, Beljo put Istra ahead in the 48th minute for 1:0. Bande made it 2:0 six minutes later. Balgojevic was shown his second yellow in the 71st minute, forcing Istra to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. Zvonarek made it 2:1 in the 76th minute, but Beljo scored again in the 4th minute of stoppage time for the final 3:1.

 

Istra ended the season in 9th place with 31 points, while Belupo finished in 7th with 36. 

Lokomotiva v. Sibenik (2:1)

Lokomotiva and Sibenik met in Zagreb on Friday, May 20. Kulenovic scored for 1:0 in the 6th minute before Maric made it 2:0 in the 29th. Delic scored for 2:1 in the 41st minute, which was the final score. 

 

Lokomotiva ended the season in 5th place with 49 points, while Sibenik finished in 8th with 32. 

Rijeka v. Dragovoljac (1:0)

Rijeka and Dragovoljac met on Saturday, May 21 at Rujevica. 

The only goal of the match came in the 2nd minute when Obregon scored for 1:0. 

 

Rijeka ended the season in 4th place with 65 points, while Dragovoljac will be relegated from the First League, finishing last with 19 points. 

Gorica v. Osijek (1:1)

Gorica and Osijek met in Velika Gorica on Saturday, May 21.

Jovicic put Gorica ahead in the 30th minute for 1:0 at the half. Bartolec equalized for 1:1 in the 68th which was the final score. 

 

Gorica ended the season in 6th place with 45 points, while Osijek finished in 3rd with 69. 

Dinamo v. Hajduk (3:1)

Dinamo and Hajduk closed out the 36th round and the 2021/22 season at Maksimir on Saturday, May 21. 

While Dinamo already clinched the title in the previous round, the Eternal Derby between these two clubs is always played for pride. Around 2,000 Hajduk fans were meant to be in attendance, though they remained outside the stadium in protest of a new Makrsimir rule regarding banners. 

Petkovic put Dinamo ahead for 1:0 in the 53rd minute. Livaja's goal was called back by VAR in the 68th minute, though he came back to equalize in the 4th minute of stoppage time for 1:1. Dinamo ended up scoring two goals in the final two minutes - with Orsic and Baturina making it 3:1. 

 

Dinamo ended the season in 1st place with 79 points, while Hajduk finished in 2nd with 72. 

You can see the full HNL standings HERE.

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

 

Sunday, 15 May 2022

HNL Round 35: Dinamo Clinches Croatian Championship with One Round To Go

May 15, 2022 - The 35th round of the Croatian First League was played from May 13 to 15, 2022. Hajduk kept their title hopes alive after winning at home against Istra on Saturday until Dinamo beat Sibenik on Sunday to claim the 2021/2022 Croatian Championship title. Here is our HNL round 35 recap. 

Dragovoljac v. Gorica (0:2)

Dragovoljac and Gorica opened the 35th round on Friday, May 13, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Fruk scored for 0:1 in the 5th minute and Golubickas in the 78th for the final 0:2. 

 

Dragovoljac is in last place with 19 points and will be relegated from the First League next season, while Gorica is in 6th place with 44 points.

Slaven Belupo v. Rijeka (2:2)

Belupo and Rijeka met on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Koprivnica. 

The first goal of the match wasn't scored until the 49th minute when Obregon found the back of the net for the Rijeka lead. Krstanovic equalized from the penalty spot in the 56th minute and Bosec gave Belupo the lead for 2:1 in the 59th. Vukcevic equalized for Rijeka in the 79th minute for the final 2:2. 

 

Belupo is currently in 7th place with 36 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 62. 

Hajduk v. Istra 1961 (3:1)

Hajduk and Istra met on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Poljud Stadium. 

Mahmoud gave Istra the lead in the 15th minute for 0:1 before Livaja equalized from the penalty spot or 1:1 just before halftime. Mahmoud was shown his second yellow moments later forcing Istra to play with a man down for the entire second half. Livaja scored another penalty in the 51st minute for 2:1 and Krovinovic made it 3:1 three minutes later for the final score. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 72 points, while Istra is in 9th with 28. 

Osijek v. Lokomotiva (1:0)

Osijek and Lokomotiva met on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at City Garden Stadium. 

The only goal of the match came in the 26th minute when Zaper scored for 1:0 and the Osijek win. 

Osijek is in 3rd place with 68 points, while Lokomotiva is in 5th with 46. 

Sibenik v. Dinamo (0:2)

Sibenik and Dinamo closed out the 35th round on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Sibenik. 

A draw or a loss for Dinamo would mean the Croatian champion would be decided next weekend at Maksimir Stadium between Dinamo and Hajduk. Dinamo, however, came to Sibenik knowing what was at stake and celebrated the title one round early.

Tolic scored in the 39th minute and Bockaj in the 53rd for the final 0:2. 

With this win, Dinamo has secured the Croatian championship title with 76 points, while Sibenik is in 8th place with 32 points. This is Dinamo's 23rd Croatian championship title. 

More soon...

You can see the full HNL standings HERE.

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

Monday, 9 May 2022

HNL Round 34 Recap: Hajduk Beats Rijeka, Dinamo Tops Osijek in Derby Weekend

May 9, 2022 - The 34th round of the Croatian First League was played from May 6 to 8, 2022. This derby weekend featured Rijeka-Hajduk and Dinamo-Osijek, with both Hajduk and Dinamo winning 3:0, leaving Osijek out of the title race. Here is our HNL round 34 recap. 

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Slaven Belupo (1:1)

Dragovoljac and Belupo opened the 34th round on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Frigan gave Dragovoljac the early lead for 1:0 in the 3rd minute Krstanovic was unable to equalize for Belupo until the 50th minute for 1:1. Karrica received his second yellow in the 81st minute, forcing Dragovoljac to pay with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

 

Dragovoljac remains in the last place with 19 points and will be relegated from the First League, while Belupo is in 7th with 35. 

Gorica v. Lokomotiva (3:3)

Gorica and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Velika Gorica. 

Atiemwen made it 1:0 for Gorica in the 24th minute while Kalik scored for 2:0 in the 39th. Pivaric came back for 2:1 Lokomotiva three minutes later. Pivaric received his second yellow in the 67th minute, leaving Lokomotiva with a player less. However, Keita was also sent off just 5 minutes later, leveling the playing field. Kulenovic scored for 2:3 in the 85th minute and Kalik scored a penalty for 3:3 in the 90th minute which was the final score. 

 

Gorica is currently in 6th place with 41 points, while Lokomotiva is in 5th with 46. 

Istra 1961 v. Sibenik (1:2)

Istra and Sibenik met on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Pula. 

Delic put Sibenik ahead in the 26th minute for 0:1. Curic made it 0:2 just before the half. Caseres came back with a goal for 1:2 in the 73rd minute, which was the final score. 

 

Istra is currently in 9th place with 28 points, while Sibenik is in 8th with 32. 

Rijeka v. Hajduk (0:3)

Rijeka and Hajduk kicked off the first big derby on Sunday, May 8, 2022, at Rujevica. 

Two Livaja goals in the 13th and 37th minutes put Hajduk ahead by 0:2. Mikanovic scored for 0:3 just before the half. Drmic was shown a red card in the 56th minute, forcing Rijeka to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 61 points, while Hajduk is in 2nd with 69. 

Dinamo v. Osijek (3:0)

Dinamo and Osijek closed out the 34th round on Sunday, May 8, at Maksimir Stadium. 

Orsic put Dinamo in the 1:0 lead in the 34th minute. Osijek's Cheberko was shown his second yellow just 10 minutes later, forcing them to play with a man down for the rest of the match. Spikic made it 2:0 for Dinamo in the 60th minute before Menalo secured Dinamo's win in the 80th for the final 3:0. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 73 points, while Osijek is in 3rd with 65 and is no longer in the title race. 

With just two rounds to go, Dinamo and Sibenik meet next Sunday in Sibenik, while Hajduk and Istra meet on Saturday at Poljud. If Dinamo draws or loses to Sibenik, the Croatian champion will be determined in the final round at Maksimir Stadium between Dinamo and Hajduk. 

You can see the HNL standings HERE

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

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