Thursday, 27 August 2020

Champions League Qualifiers: Dinamo Moves Forward after Dramatic Penalty Shootout

August 27, 2020 -  Dinamo is in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. The Zagreb club celebrated in Romania against Cluj on Wednesday after a penalty shootout.

After 120 minutes, the match ended 2:2, and all Dinamo players scored penalties except Amer Gojak, while the home team missed two.

Goals for the Croatian champions, who played 70 minutes with a player down thanks to Theophile's red card, were scored by Gojak and Lirim Kastrati. Dinamo led twice, but the home team managed to come back both times. It was especially painful for Dinamo when Debeljuh scored in the 92nd minute for extra time.

During the penalty shootout, Dinamo won 6:5. Interestingly, this is only the second time that penalties have decided Dinamo's fate in the Champions League. The first time the Zagreb club was eliminated by Sheriff in the 2010 Champions League.

Match recap

Cluj entered the match better, but Dinamo soon found their rhythm and in the 14th minute, the "Blues" took the lead. After a short tussle with the defender, Ivanusec shot, Balgradean defended, but Gojak rebounded to find the back of the net.

Cluj had their first big chance in the 20th minute, but Deac shot high. Five minutes later, the host threatened again, this time in front of Dinamo's goal. In the 36th minute, Cluj had another chance. Deac shot from a free-kick, the ball bounced off the wall to Chipciu who shot brilliantly into the near corner, but Livakovic was ready.

In the very end of the first half, Dinamo had two great opportunities, but failed to succeed - Orsic and Dilaver both hit the crossbar.

Unfortunately, the second half brought big problems for Dinamo. The crucial moment happened in the 51st minute when Theophile-Catherine earned a red card. The French stopper committed a foul on Debeljuh by pulling him from behind, which the Portuguese referee rewarded with a penalty kick and exclusion.

Deac took the penalty, but Livakovic defended brilliantly. Unfortunately, the home team equalized in the 64th minute, anyhow. Pereira shot from 25 meters, and Livakovic reacted badly by receiving a goal for 1-1.

In the 78th minute, Dinamo took a new lead. Kastrati scored for the 2-1 lead.

In the remaining minutes, Cluj rushed for an equalizer and extra time, and when it already seemed that Dinamo would celebrate, the host equalized in the second minute of the referee's added time. The goal was scored by 23-year-old Croatian striker Gabriel Debeljuh.

Petkovic lost the ball in the middle of the pitch, after which Cluj sprinted for the counter. The ball came on the wing to Rondon who sent a great ball into the penalty area where Debeljuh scored for 2-2 and extra time.

In extra time, Dinamo coped very well with the player less and managed to bring the match to penalties.

Two Croatian football players played for Cluj - Gabrijel Debeljuh and Damjan Đoković. Both the whole game.

Dinamo will be the leader in the third qualifying round as well, and they will certainly not play against Young Boys, Red Star, Qarabag and Maccabi. Potential rivals for the Croatian champion are Molde, Midtjylland, Ferencvaros, Omonia and Dinamo from Brest.

The draw for the third qualifying round is on August 31, and one game will be played on September 15 or 16. The playoffs will be played in two games on September 22/23 and September 29/30.

Lokomotiva failed to advance for the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League after losing to Vienna's Rapid 0-1 in the 2nd qualifying round at Kranjčevićeva Street Stadium. The only goal of the match was scored by Ercen Kara in the 32nd minute.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Dinamo Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

August 19, 2020 - Dinamo Zagreb released a statement Wednesday morning that one player tested positive for coronavirus, but did not reveal the identity of the player.

We have transmitted the club's press release in its entirety below:

"We hereby inform the public that one player from the GNK Dinamo system is positive for COVID-19. Pursuant to the Personal Data Protection Act (GDPR), we cannot disclose the identity of a person positive for the coronavirus.

The player who had symptoms immediately informed the GNK Dinamo medical service about his condition, which informed the competent epidemiological service about the situation in accordance with all prescribed measures. Today, the player received a positive result and was given a measure of strict self-isolation, in accordance with the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia and the working group of the Croatian Football Federation.

According to the assessment of the medical service of the club and the epidemiological service at this time, there is no need for self-isolation of other players or members of the professional staff, given that the infected player was not in close contact with other people indoors, within the confines of the stadium.

Clubs participating in the UEFA competition are required to perform COVID-19 tests before each match in accordance with all prescribed measures, twice before the match. All members of the first team will be tested on COVID-19 on Thursday, August 20, and a few days later, the second test will be done.

GNK Dinamo will carry out intensified supervision in the coming days and will closely monitor the situation within the club in order to protect the players, the professional staff and all employees."

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Monday, 10 August 2020

Dinamo Zagreb and Lokomotiva Learn Opponents for Champions League Playoffs

August 10, 2020 - A draw was held for the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Among the names were Croatian clubs Dinamo Zagreb and Lokomotiva. reports that the Croatian champion was the top seed in the draw for the champions and drew the winner of Romanian club Cluj or Maltese club Floriana. Lokomotiva, which participated in the draw of teams that did not win national championships, drew Vienna Rapid, the easiest possible rival in the competition of Plzen and Besiktas.

Dinamo was unlucky in the home draw, too, and will play away on August 25 or 26, because only one game is being played at this stage of the competition. Lokomotiva will host its rival.

The new season starts in Romania on August 22. Cluj won the title for the third year in a row last season, this time with a five-point advantage after losing just one game in the Champions League play-offs. The team's top scorer is 34-year-old Ciprian Deac, who scored 18 goals in 42 games.

This season, as the second-placed team, Cluj passed the Europa League group, which included Lazio, Celtic and Rennes, and was eliminated by Seville in the knockout phase thanks to an away goal.

On the eve of the draw, Lokomotiva had two wishes - to draw Rapid and be the host. Both wishes came true for the Croatian runner-up, so at the end of the month in Kranjceviceva, they will be chasing a spot in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. By eliminating Rapid, Lokomotiva would secure at least the group stage of the Europa League.

The night before the draw, Dinamo found out about its potential rivals - Romanian Cluj, Maltese Floriana, Hungarian Ferencvaros, Swedish Djurgarden, Slovak Slovan or the representative of the Faroe Islands KI. Cluj, Ferencvaros and Slovan were at the top or in the top half of the clubs, meaning that the Zagreb club could not get tougher rivals.

In the third qualifying round, one game will be played. Dinamo would be the leader in that phase, as well as in the play-off, which is played in two games. Clubs that are eliminated in the Champions League qualifiers continue to compete in the Europa League.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Zoran Mamic to Lead Dinamo Until End of Season, First Match Against Hajduk

July 7, 2020 - After Jovicevic was sacked on Monday, the Zagreb club announced that Zoran Mamic would lead Dinamo Zagreb until the end of the season. Mamic is the club's sports director, the brother of the infamous Zdravko Mamic, and former Dinamo captain and coach. Two years ago, he was sentenced to four years and 11 months in prison for damaging the club.

"Civic football club Dinamo informs the public that in the remaining three HNL games until the end of the 2019/20 competition season, the first Dinamo team will be led by the club's sports director, Mr. Zoran Mamić," Dinamo announced, as reported.

The middle Mamic brother, because, in addition to him and the older Zdravko, Zdravko's son Mario or Mamić Jr. also benefited from the family club, commented on the fact that he is taking over Dinamo for the second time as a coach, which he already led from 2013 to 2016.

"The situation is such that we must not rush into a decision and allow ourselves to take the wrong step. European competitions are very close, and we know how much it means to Dinamo and Croatian football to play in European groups. With these three games until the end of the season, we will have time to decide who will lead Dinamo next season."

Zoran Mamic is the current sports director and brother of fugitive Zdravko Mamic. Both brothers are under a non-final verdict for heavily robbing the club they lead. Dinamo boss Zdravko Mamic, his brother Zoran, former Dinamo director Damir Vrbanovic and tax collector Milan Pernar were found guilty in 2018 by a non-judicial verdict of the Osijek County Court by USKOK's accusations of extracting around 116 million kuna from the club and causing damage to the state budget of 12.2 million kuna. They were sentenced to prison terms, with Zdravko Mamic receiving six and a half years, and his brother Zoran four years and 11 months in prison.

Zoran Mamic coached in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from 2016 to 2019, and he officially returned to Dinamo as the director last summer.

He will now debut on the bench against Hajduk on Sunday. In the role of his assistant, Damir Krznar is mentioned, a soldier of the club who, along with the middle Mamic brother, gathered experience in the Middle East. They returned to Dinamo together last summer. Krznar led the youth forces and briefly helped Jovicevic in the coaching staff of the first team.

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Monday, 6 July 2020

Igor Jovicevic Sacked as Dinamo Coach After Rijeka Loss

July 6, 2020 - Dinamo announced on Monday that it terminated the contract with coach Igor Jovicevic after the Zagreb club's 0:2 defeat against Rijeka.

"I had the best intentions, but football is like that. The ball didn't come back to me this time, but I'm leaving my club with my head up because I don't want to be a burden in these times. I thank the club for the trust, for the wonderful years in the football school. I will always be a Dinamo player and I believe that this is just a goodbye, not a farewell to my favorite club," said Igor Jovicevic on

"We are sorry for such a quick departure, but we must show responsibility in these difficult times. On behalf of the club, I thank Igor for the great results he achieved with our junior team. The doors of Dinamo will always be open to him," said club sports director Zoran Mamic.

Dinamo will inform the fans about the new coach in a timely manner.

Jovicevic took over Dinamo on April 22 after the club parted ways with Nenad Bjelica due to a dispute over reducing his contract due to the coronavirus crisis.

The new Dinamo coach was at the helm of a team that played a great Champions League campaign, though he only won three of seven games. Namely, against Varazdin, Slaven Belupo and Inter Zapresic. 

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Thursday, 23 April 2020

Igor Jovicevic Officially Named New Coach of Dinamo Zagreb

April 23, 2020 - Igor Jovicevic has been named the new coach of the Croatian champion - Dinamo Zagreb.

Igor Jovicevic will succeed Nenad Bjelica, whose contract was terminated last week, reports HRT.

His greatest career success came just ten days after a great loss, the death of his father, Ceda Jovicevic, who passed away at the age of 68.

"Emotions are mixed. My parents mean a lot to me, losing my dad has left a big mark on me, but I have to deal with it, and my memory will never fade. I am proud of him, of everything he has done in his career and of everything he has given to Dinamo in those 10 years. He is my hero, my idol, and has always been a parameter for me on how to behave and what are the paths of success," said Jovicevic, who has successfully led the young Dinamo team so far.

"This is my childhood dream come true, it is truly an immense joy that I feel, but it also comes with the great responsibility that the first coach has to carry with him. In my younger days, I was one of the fans from the North Stand. First of all, I'm a Dinamo fan. So, before I’m a coach, I’m a fan. I have loved Dinamo since I was a kid, I've been here all my life, my dad brought me to these rooms when I was four years old. And I wanted to be a Dinamo coach; it didn't matter when. Just to be one," he added after signing the contract.

Born in Zagreb, Jovicevic was once the best cadet in Europe. At the age of 17, in the summer of 1991, he signed a contract with Real Madrid, but a severe injury to the cruciate ligaments halted his career.

After that, he played in Japan, Brazil, France, China, Ukraine and ended his playing career again in China with a new knee injury at the age of 32.

After retiring, he began coaching. In June 2014, he became interim head coach and one year later head coach at the Ukrainian Karpaty Lviv. In October 2016, he moved to the Celje bench, and in 2017, he returned to Maksimir.

From the summer of 2017, he led the second Maksimir team as well as the juniors in the UEFA Youth Champions League, where he brought Dinamo to the quarterfinal twice in a row. This year's quarterfinal match against Benfica was postponed due to the pandemic, and in the meantime, Jovicevic moved to the top squad.

Jovicevic will be assisted by Damir Krznar and Alen Peternac, goalkeeping coaches Sandro Zufic, conditioning coaches Ivan Stefanic and Stipe Marina, analyst Vedran Attias, and team manager Marko Kuze.

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Thursday, 16 April 2020

Nenad Bjelica No Longer Coach of Dinamo Zagreb

April 16, 2020 - Nenad Bjelica is no longer the coach of Dinamo Zagreb! reports that negotiations at Maksimir lasted for more than three hours on Thursday, after which Dinamo officially announced that Nenad Bjelica was no longer the coach of the Croatian champion.

"GNK Dinamo and Nenad Bjelica have agreed to terminate their business cooperation. The club thanks Nenad Bjelica for his cooperation so far and the results he has achieved as the coach for Dinamo."

No details of the painful breakup are known so far. It should be reminded that by the end of the contract, Dinamo should have paid Bjelica just over two million euro.

Nenad Bjelica arrived at Maksimir this morning after 9 am to discuss terminating his contract. Dinamo had already written off the coach who brought the club the biggest success in Europe in the last 50 years as he did not agree to a reduced salary.

"The breakup was mutual, we didn't even get to fight," Bjelica told reporters.

What caught everyone's eye on Thursday is that Bjelica got out of a car with Split license plates. Namely, he arrived for negotiations with Split lawyer Tomislav Kasal. Kasal is a lawyer representing the Football Union Association and Hajduk and is a member of FIFA's Disputes Commission. He also represents a few Dinamo players.

The club was allegedly surprised that Bjelica arrived with a lawyer for his first interview at the club after the outbreak of the conflict. According to information from close sources, Bjelica did not forget about the dismissed members of his coaching staff who were not entitled to compensation and wanted to settle them in this breakup.

The new coach will be the current expert at the helm of the young squad, Igor Jovicic, which the club should soon confirm. So far, he is the only candidate for Bjelica's successor.

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Saturday, 28 March 2020

Chaos at Dinamo: Players Refuse Salary Cut, Coach Bjelica's Staff Sacked

March 28, 2020 - Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dinamo Zagreb decided to cut salaries by 30 percent to players, staff and members of the working community over the next six months. Everyone in the club agreed to the pay cut except the first team, coach Nenad Bjelica and his staff.

T.portal reports that on Wednesday, the Croatian football champion decided to cut salaries for all 450 Dinamo-based employees, to which all but the players and first-team professional staff agreed. On Thursday, the Dinamo leaders brutally retaliated by terminating the contracts of Bjelica’s closest associates - his staff. Namely, assistant coaches Rene Poms and Nino Bule, goalie coach Silvije Cavlina, conditioning coaches Martin Mayer and Karlo Reinholz and analyst Jasmin Osmanovic have been sacked.

The only one pardoned was head coach Nenad Bjelica.

On Friday, Dinamo handed over two fully equipped ambulances to the health system of Croatia, worth half a million kuna, with two donations of 250,000 kuna each for the reconstruction of the Zagreb Pediatric Disease Clinic and the Petrova Clinic for Women and Diseases, which were both damaged in the devastating earthquake on Sunday. 

After the ceremony at Maksimir Stadium, Kresimir Antolic presented the position of the GNK Dinamo Management on media reports about the split between the club management and the locker room after the decision to reduce salaries.

'We have said everything about the measures we have taken in our statement. Anyone who is reasonable, realistic, normal will recognize our intentions and why we have now introduced rationalization and austerity measures. Not because we are in a panic, but because we are thinking about what will be in three, six or nine months,” Antolic said, adding that “everyone must be responsible for what they say” and not speak of “manipulations and untruths”.

“Let us deal with our players and let them understand through conversation that this is aimed at safeguarding their contracts and securing their livelihoods, as 90 percent of other people who receive a salary from Dinamo each month accept. In a situation where people have no place to live, when apartments and houses are destroyed, when people die in hospitals, the topic now is the relationship between Dinamo's players and Dinamo. These are our players. These are no other players. Let's not make hysteria out of it. We will sit down with them and they will fully understand what this is about, that it is not about any impact on them,” Antolic revealed to the media about the club’s next move.

In a statement issued Thursday, in response to the reaction of the players, the GNK Dinamo management stated that “it had brought in measures to rationalize the remuneration of all employees for the next six months to maintain the overall stability of the club" and that they "informed every club employee in a timely manner, in accordance with the coronavirus pandemic restriction," and that the first to know was head coach Nenad Bjelica and captain Arjan Ademi with several other first-team players.

Dinamo said in a statement that the coach and the players on several occasions decisively rejected the measures imposed and that the club "received such refusal as soon as possible and in writing". The same statement read that all other employees agreed to the measures introduced and that the allegations of expeditiousness, one-sidedness and lack of analysis and communication were simply incorrect.

T.portal also reported that Dinamo did not sack coach Nenad Bjelica because they could lose millions, as Dinamo would have to pay his contract until the end, which is the summer of 2021, with all bonuses and arrears.

Bjelica currently has a contract of around 1.2 million euro a year, and until the end of the contract, he is owed over one and a half million euro. Add to that the agreed bonuses for their Champions League success this season and likely another Croatian championship, the sum could easily exceed two million euro. 

Dinamo fan group Bad Blue Boys released a statement on Friday.

Some excerpts read:

“The despotic, absolutist principle of governing our club has again shown its true face.

Amid the biggest crisis since the war in which most people in the country have been struggling to survive, using the lowest passions, the club has brought its players and coaches to the pillar of shame by sticking the label of greedy millionaires on them and leaving them at the mercy of the masses and the media, thirsty for blood and sensations. And many fans, nevertheless people, sometimes naive and confronted with the great problems of life and the threatening black clouds, reflexively perceived this situation as black and white.

For the past three days, the public has separated players and first-team coaches into simple factors by which the so-called "management" clasped their hands and closed their mouths to defend themselves and tell their side of the story in a situation that is all but black and white. They did not run the risk of rebelling coaches and players, nor did they direct this play for less money. Nor is it by chance that the entire operation was performed at this exact time.

It is a completely surreal fact that the one behind everything has been abolished by the body of the club, while at the same time, humiliating the coach and players whose character they had swore on yesterday. 

All this is just a reflection of the general schizophrenia the club is in, complete opacity and throwing dust in the eyes of fans and anyone who loves Dinamo.

The players now have the opportunity to show who they are; do they feel for this club, the fans, for the people of this city and this country, which the higher forces again threw to their knees.”

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

NK Osijek, Dinamo Significantly Reduce Wages for Players and Employees

March 25, 2020 - NK Osijek and Dinamo Zagreb are the first two Croatian clubs to reduce the wages of players and employees during the corona crisis.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, and during the corona era, we’ve seen athletes around the world hit hard by the effects of the global pandemic. 

Croatian sport has been on hold since the beginning of the month, which has been especially tough for Croatian football. While HNS announced that the league must end no later than June 28, we’re still unsure of a potential start date, as Croatia is on lockdown until April 19. 

Clubs are struggling to stay alive, and players and employees are the ones having the suffer. 

Namely, the players of NK Osijek were offered a salary cut due to the coronavirus crisis, which they accepted, reports Glas Slavonije.

Thus, the club will reduce salaries by 50%, and 25% will be paid back when they return to the pitch.

They were the first club in Croatia to make this move, which we believe many more will follow to avoid financial problems.

"We were the first to decide on such measures, but I believe that all other clubs will very quickly do the same thing," said Osijek President Ivan Mestrovic.

Of course, this will not be an easy period for footballers and employees alike, but in the long run, this might be the saving grace.

After Osijek, Dinamo became the second Croatian club to reduce costs by reducing player and employee wages due to the coronavirus crisis, reports Nogomet Plus.

Unlike Osijek, whose employees and players will receive 50% lower pay (25% of which are non-refundable) until football resumes at Maksimir, they have opted for even more drastic measures. Namely, employees and players will receive only a third in the next six months - one third will be paid after the start of the competition, and one third will have to be given up permanently.

In its statement, the Dinamo Management stated:

“From the onset of the crisis caused by the Coronavirus - Covid 19, the management of GNK Dinamo has been in constant session and analysis of the consequences of the global crisis that caused the world economy to stall and completely halt our core business in sport. 

The strategy that we have decided to counteract the consequences of this crisis on society as a whole, and in particular on sport and football as its most prominent part, aims at preserving all jobs in Dinamo. This means that we strive to ensure that none of our players, coaches, physicians, physiotherapists, economists, stadium maintenance workers, and club administration are jobless and secure the conditions to live and function in dignity at this globally critical moment.

In order to succeed in this, all the stakeholders of the club must bear the brunt of this crisis, in proportion to their income and the other benefits of playing for and being employed by Dinamo. Considering the uncertainty of the continuation of the competition, the postponement of EURO 2020, the unknown start date of the new season in Croatia and Europe, the unknown about the timing and extent of the summer deadline and the overall economic crisis that has arisen, primarily to preserve the overall stability and liquidity of our club, the management of GNK DINAMO made the following decisions:

Employees earning more than HRK 7,500.00 (average income of the City of Zagreb) will be paid this amount and the difference up to the full amount of the salary as follows:

- one-third of the difference between the average income and the full amount of salary is paid regularly

- one-third will be paid within six months from the date of the first official game of GNK Dinamo

- one-third of the salary will not be paid permanently

- this measure shall be valid until 30 September 2020 and shall enter into force immediately.

2. Players and coaches will be paid as follows:

- one-third of the benefits will be paid on a regular basis

- one-third of the proceeds will be paid within six months of the date of the first official game of GNK Dinamo

- one-third of the benefits will not be paid permanently

- this measure shall be valid until 30 September 2020 and shall enter into force immediately.

3. The next two team preparations will be held in Croatia without going to the usual foreign destinations

4. This year's edition of the Mladen Ramljak Memorial Tournament is completely canceled

5. We continue to take additional measures to reduce all costs other than those necessary for the functioning of the Club

The decision shall take effect immediately. In these moments, we invite all players, coaches and employees to contribute with their positivity and community to the Club to continue its sports success and maintain its status as a leader in the sports excellence of Croatia and this part of Europe.

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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Bad Blue Boys Embark on New Campaign: Zagreb Needs Us All

March 24, 2020 - The images of women from the Petrova maternity ward walking around in the cold with newborns in hand after the earthquake struck Zagreb on Sunday will stay with us forever. Among the first to come to their aid was Dinamo Zagreb fan group Bad Blue Boys. 

Often condemned for excessive flares in the stands and highways brawls, Croatian football fan groups are usually characterized as unruly and dangerous. But when it comes to helping those in need, they’ll be the first on the front line, writes Vecernji List.

The Bad Blue Boys, for example, have shown over the past two days that their ideals, courage and heart should be appreciated, as they first helped move newborns at Petrova, then continued to assist the Dubrava hospital by moving it to Jordanovac at night. During the day, many of them cleaned Zagreb from the rubble caused by the earthquake. But that's not all.

“A few days ago, together with the Red Cross City Society, we launched the Blue Heart Action to help elderly, infirm, and chronically ill fellow citizens, bring them food and medicine so that they do not have to be exposed to the coronavirus. And many of us have put ourselves at the disposal of Civil Protection,” the Bad Blue Boys said, explaining how they act so quickly:

“We have a group message, and as soon as something happens, we move to help. Around 500 people arrived in front of the Jordanovac in half an hour, but 100 of us left as they no longer needed us.”

The Bad Blue Boys also invited all their members to donate blood on Tuesday from 8 am to 7 pm at Petrova 3 to maintain constant medical care for our fellow citizens in these crisis days, reports

"Join us, Zagreb needs us all," the Boys said.

Due to the cancellation of several large field donation campaigns and low blood supplies, the Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine calls on everyone to donate blood.

It is recommended that you come in smaller groups and follow the instructions on social distancing, avoid direct physical contact, and wear a face mask.

It is Croatian football fan groups who, in the most difficult moments, re-prove their loyalty to the state and help those who need it most. The Bad Blue Boys, as well as other fans groups like Torcida, Armada, and Kohorta, were the first to defend the country from aggression in 1991, the first to start building flood protection fences, the first to help put out fires in Dalmatia, and are now moving hospitals and clearing rubble. 

“Whether we like it or not, we are not doing it for others but for our ideals, we will continue to defend the colors of the city and our club in our own way, however unclear it may be to many, and we will be the first to help in any crisis,  again, however uncertain it may be to some,” said one Bad Blue Boys member to Vecernji List. 

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