Wednesday, 23 November 2022

New York Times Writes About Dedicated Croatian Women in Football

November the 23rd, 2022 - The New York Times has written about two Croatian women heavily involved in a sport dominated by men as the 2022 World Cup gets underway in Qatar.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, while the fans are eagerly awaiting the first game of the Croatian national team at this year's World Cup in Qatar against Morocco, the New York Times has presented two important Croatian women in this country's national team with a longer service than many of the male members. Iva Olivari and Ivancica Sudac served in the Croatian Football Association even before joining FIFA. For them, it's a bigger-than-life job.

Olivari, according to the publication by The New York Times, followed Luka Modric from the very beginning. He was a mere seven years old when Olivari joined the nascent Croatian Football Association.

"You watch him grow, you watch him become a man. That's the journey we've been through," she said.

She has known Modric (who is now 37) since he was just a teenager, just a few years after the war forced him out of his hometown and made him a refugee. She remembers how he made his way through the Croatian youth teams, how he left Croatia to make a name for himself in the biggest European leagues, how he led Croatia in an incredible performance to the World Cup final and helped the mighty Real Madrid win trophy after trophy.

She didn't follow only Luka Modric on his way to the top of the top. She was also present when legendary players like Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki were at the very beginning of their careers.

However, Olivari isn't the one with the longest tenure in HNS, or even the woman with the longest tenure in the Association: that title is held by her colleague Ivancica Sudac, who is also one of the Croatian women with the longest tenure spent in European football. Sudac joined the Alliance way back in 1991, a few months earlier than Olivari, when the two were barely in their 20s.

"The two of us are like two dinosaurs," 51-year-old Olivari said with a laugh, reports tportal.

Ivancica Sudac, on the other hand, was a law student who had very little interest in football when she received an invitation to join the Federation a year before it was officially recognised by FIFA. While campaigning for membership in the midst of the Croatian War of Independence and the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia, she managed because she was fluent in several languages, including French and English. She is currently the head of international affairs and licensing within the federation.

Olivari came shortly after her. She had just returned home to Croatia from the USA after giving up her dream of a tennis career, answering an ad in a newspaper. She and Sudac were actually the founders of the international department of the Croatian Football Association.

These two Croatian women worked together for a long time, first translating thousands of pages of international sports regulations into Croatian, and then writing letters to foreign federations to convey the demands of the highest officials. For the first few years, the pair even worked on a typewriter before being introduced to a primitive word processor that they would share by turning the screen around to each other every few hours.

By 2012, Sudac had become one of the highest-ranking women in European football's governing body, UEFA. For Olivari, who assumed the role of more direct work with the Croatian national team back in 2002, a major development took place when former striker Davor Suker became president of the Association.

In 2016, Suker made, as Olivari says, a "brave decision" after consulting with former captain Dario Srna and Anto Cacic, the coach of the national team at the time, and assigned her a place on the bench as team leader, the first in the women's competition.

Neither Olivari nor Sudac, even after more than 30 years within the Association, have any intention of resigning anytime soon. Sudac, who is now a senior member of football's governing body FIFA, says there is no other job she could imagine ever doing. Olivari says she still feels the same rush of adrenaline every time she steps out and sits on the bench. Both of these dedicated Croatian women say their roles still bring them the same sense of mission now as they did as sports representatives of the then-new and independent nation of Croatia.

For more, check out our news section. Keep up with our sport section as Croatia gears up to face its opponents in Qatar.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Croatia Team Manager Iva Olivari Named UEFA Delegate in Women's Champions League Final

August 29, 2020 - The team manager of the Croatia men's national team, Iva Olivari, was named the UEFA delegate in the women's Champions League final match.

After performing the same duty at the quarter-final match between Arsenal and PSG on August 22 and the semi-final match between Wolfsburg and Barcelona on August 25, Iva Olivari will be a delegate to the grand final, the clash of Wolfsburg and Lyon at the Anoeti Stadium in San Sebastian, HNS announced.

It is the highest official position in UEFA competitions, and the role includes controlling and supervising all aspects of the organization of the match.

"It is my great pleasure and exceptional honor to be a delegate in the final match of the Champions League. I thank UEFA and the Croatian Football Federation, led by President Davor Suker, who recognized my work and decided to nominate me for this position after many years in the Federation," said the Vatreni team manager.

“There will be two big rivals in the final, teams that are always at the top of women’s football, and I am eager to attend such an exciting match,” Olivari added.

In addition to Olivari, Croatia will have another representative in the grand final - the assistant referee of the final match of the Champions League will be Sanja Rodak-Karsic. The Croatian representative was in the same role in the Champions League final two years ago in Kyiv when the teams of Wolfsburg and Lyon also met, and the French side celebrated 4-1 after extra time.

Rodak-Karsic has already reffed at both the World and European Championships, including the final of the 2017 European Champs in the Netherlands.

Ivana Martincic was chosen as one of the ten main referees at the final tournament of the Champions League in Spain. However, she did not get a chance in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final.

The lead official will be Switzerland's Esther Staubli, while Sanja Rodjak-Karsic and Ukrainian Oleksandra Ardasheva have been appointed assistants. The fourth official will be Czech Jan Adamkova.

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