Tuesday, 22 February 2022

HNS Secures EUR 44 million for Croatian Football TV and Media Rights Over Next 4 Years

February 22, 2022 - The Croatian Football Federation has secured 44 million euros for Croatian football TV and media rights over the next four competition years.

At Monday's session, the Croatian Football Federation Executive Board decided on selecting partners for television and media rights for competitions under the auspices of HNS for the next four competition years, reports the HNS website

After terminating the contract with Endorphin Magine, the HNS management held meetings with companies interested in buying TV and media rights, followed by three official offers to purchase TV rights - A1 Croatia, Hrvatski Telekom, Sportklub and AB SportConsulting. At the same time, the SuperSport offer for media rights arrived.

At the session, the HNS Executive Board considered the three received offers and chose Hrvatski Telekom, which was the most generous of 9 million euros per year. Thus, in the four years that the contract is expected to last, Hrvatski Telekom will pay 36 million euros to HNS for the associated TV rights.

In addition, the SuperSport offer for media rights of 1.5 million euros per competition year for sponsorship rights and 500,000 euros per competition year for betting rights was accepted.

In total, HNS has secured 44 million euros for television and media rights over the next four years.

"As we announced last week, we quickly found the best solution for Croatian clubs and Croatian football as a whole. Negotiations with interested companies showed great interest in Croatian club football and accepted offers from HT and SuperSport best confirm this great value.

We are glad to continue our cooperation with Hrvatski Telekom, which has been a great partner of Croatian football for many years, so we do not doubt that this cooperation will be very successful. This is an unprecedented step forward for the Federation and our clubs, and I am convinced that these 44 million euros will ensure further progress in the First League and all other competitions," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

An agreement has also been made between Hrvatski Telekom and HRT, according to which one match of each round will be broadcast on national television.

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


Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Croatia to Play in Doha Friendly Tournament this March as 2022 World Cup Prep

February 2, 2022 - The Croatia national team will participate in a Doha friendly tournament next month as preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar this December. 

The Croatian Football Federation management has agreed that the Croatia national team will play a friendly tournament in Qatar in March. Croatia will play two matches in Doha, reports HNS.

Croatia will face Slovenia on March 26 and will play Bulgaria three days later. The national team of Qatar will also play in the tournament, against Bulgaria (March 26) and Slovenia (March 29). The matches will be played at the stadiums in Doha where the FIFA World Cup matches will be played. The exact timetables and stadiums will be defined later, and HNS will inform fans in a timely manner about the possibilities of buying tickets.

"We wanted to play in Doha in March, so I thank the leadership of the Federation for agreeing to participate in this tournament - it will be a great opportunity to get to know Qatar and feel the conditions that await us - climate, infrastructure, culture.

I think the opponents are tailor-made, two quality teams that will be a good test for what awaits us next. First of all, we are looking forward to the gathering, to continue to build a community that will be key to success in the competitions that await us later in the year," said the Croatia national team coach, Zlatko Dalić.

"We are glad that we have reached an agreement on participating in this tournament in Doha, given the desire of the coach Dalić and the national team to play in Qatar, so that we can acclimatize to everything that awaits us at the end of the year. The most important thing is that our direct placement in Qatar has enabled us a peaceful year in which we can prepare well for the World Cup, and participating in this tournament will be an important step in that direction," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

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

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Historic Day: Referee Ivana Martinčić First Woman to Lead Croatian First League Match

September 9, 2021 - 36-year-old Croatian football referee Ivana Martinčić from Koprivnica will be the first female referee to lead a Croatian First League match. 

The Croatian Football Federation has confirmed that Martinčić will be the head referee this Friday (September 10) in the first match between Gorica and Hrvatski Dragovoljac in the 8th round of the Croatian First League (HNL), reports Jutarnji List.

This will make Croatia the fifth country in Europe where a woman will be the main referee in the football competition's elite class. Women served as main referees at elite matches in France, Wales, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine before Croatia.

"This is a clear example of the direction in which Croatian football is heading, in the spirit of unity, equality, and progress," said HNS.

Ivana Martinčić has been successfully working at the second league level since 2017. In 2018, she refereed the European Under-19 Football Championship final, and in 2015 the European Under-17 Championship final. In June last year, Martinčić was the fourth referee in the Hajduk - Varaždin match. Since 2017, she has refereed Second HNL matches. Since 2019, she has been an elite international referee and is also a candidate for the 2023 Women's World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand. The head of Croatian football referees, Bruno Marić, has followed Ivana closely and thus decided to give her a chance on the biggest stage. 

HNS president, Marijan Kustić, is very proud to witness the historical moment of the First HNL on Friday.

"It is a great day for Ivana Martinčić, but also the entire HNS. I have often said that we want to keep up with the world on all issues, and this is just one way to show it concretely. We expand our horizons every day, we show our neighbors, but also many in Europe, that we work in all fields, and of course, Ivana deserved such an opportunity with her work. I believe that its success will encourage many, including us in the HNS, to give more attention to women's football in Croatia together," said Kustić.

The president of the HNS Referees Commission, Bruno Marić, is equally proud.

"I think this is a historic day for Croatian refs and the HNS. Opening the First HNL to female referees was part of my program when I ran for the position of President of the HNS Referees Commission. We are entering the world elite in terms of referees in men's football because only four countries - France, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Wales - have female referees at the most elite level of national competition. Ivana Martinčić is thus becoming a serious candidate for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, held in 2023. Ivana also completed her VAR education, and I am especially proud to say that she is probably the only one in the world to run men's referee standards at the last seminar. The region we live in does not have such a referee; we are avant-garde in that respect. I am convinced that Ivana will respond to all the challenges brought by the First HNL. My great mission is to bring Ivana to the point of refereeing men's European matches, and she can certainly do that," concluded Marić.

Other refeees for the Fist HNL 8th round matches: on Saturday, Dinamo and Šibenik play (main referee Tihomir Pejin from Donji Miholjac) and Rijeka and Slaven Belupo (Duje Strukan from Split). Dario Bel from Osijek will referee on Sunday in Pula, where Istra 1961 will meet Hajduk. In the last match of this round, the clash between Lokomotiva and Osijek, the main referee will be Mario Zebec.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

New HNS President Marijan Kustić Holds Meeting with Dalić, Pletikosa, and Assistants

August 4, 2021 - The newly elected HNS president Marijan Kustić held a meeting with the head coach of the national team, Zlatko Dalić, and the new technical director to discuss the upcoming September 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. 

A working meeting of the newly elected HNS president Marijan Kustić with the Croatia national team coach, Zlatko Dalić, technical director of the A and U-21 national team, Stipe Pletikosa, Dalić's assistants Vedran Ćorluka and Ivica Olić, and team manager Iva Olivari was held at the Croatian Football Federation, reports HNS.

After the official meeting with technical director Stipe Pletikosa, the main topics of conversation were the upcoming September activities of the A national team, which is expected to continue the qualifying cycle for the World Cup in Qatar with important matches against Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

"Once again, I congratulate Stipe on his new position; he has our full support, just like the national team before the important September matches. The Croatian Football Federation will, as always, provide the national team with maximum conditions, and I am convinced that the team will also provide the maximum on the field and do everything to be even one step closer to Qatar," said the new president of HNS, Marijan Kustić.

"It is a great honor and pleasure to be part of the Croatian A national team again. I thank the leaders of HNS led by Marijan Kustić for their trust; I will try to help the team maintain high standards with my knowledge and experience. I am looking forward to new challenges, cooperation with coaches Zlatko Dalić and Igor Bišćan; I believe that together we will achieve the set goals," said Stipe Pletikosa.

The Croatia national team continues its qualifications for the 2022 World Cup by visiting Russia on September 1. Croatia will visit Slovakia three days later, and the September mini-cycle will end on September 7 in Split against Slovenia.

After three rounds, Croatia leads in Group H with six points, as does Russia. Slovakia has five, Cyprus four, Slovenia three, and Malta one point.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Thursday, 29 July 2021

It's Official: Davor Šuker No Longer Croatian Football Federation President!

July 29, 2021 - After nine years, the Croatian Football Federation Assembly unanimously removed President Davor Šuker. The new Croatian Football Federation president is Marijan Kustić.

The election of a new president, who was elected publicly and unanimously, was a formality because the former first HNS operative Kustić received support from all county unions and the City of Zagreb before the election session of the HNS Assembly and was the only candidate. It became clear that Šuker had no prospects for a new term when the Zagreb Football Association prevented him from doing so.

"This is a big and emotional thing for me. Thank you for your support, I will do my best to justify the trust. For me, it is a great encouragement to be the president who for the first time received the unanimous support of all county unions. We are all football and we are moving forward," said Kustić after the election, who also introduced his closest associates.

In his farewell speech, Šuker said he must thank those who brought him and worked with him, but did not mention Mamić, Kustić or any other member of the HNS government.

"I gave my character and work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to Croatian football. With my knowledge, I wanted to make HNS the most successful sports organization and a successful brand and I think I succeeded. I didn't do it myself and I thank everyone with I am proud of the silver medal in Russia, the greatest success in history. I am glad that as a player and president I was part of the greatest success in the history of Croatian football, and the national team under my leadership qualified for all four major competitions. The young national team achieved the greatest success, we built new pitches and improved the status of futsal and women's football. We helped Croatia after the earthquake, we overcame the pandemic. I contributed as a member of Uefa that many of our people enter the structures of the umbrella organization and I will continue to do so. I will work always in the interest of Croatian football. I have been and will remain loyal to Croatian football with all my being. See you in September in Moscow at the match against Russia," said Šuker.

The first vice president will be Ante Vučemilović Šimunović, and the other vice presidents are Mario Smodlaka, Damir Mišković, Nenad Črnko and Slavko Prišćan.

The new executive director of the football organization is Tomislav Svetina, and Stipe Pletikosa is the technical director of the A and U21 national teams.

After the session, former President Šuker invited members of the Assembly to a joint lunch, and members of the new Executive Board remained in the hall with Kustić.

Source: HRT

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Marjan Kustić Officially Nominated for HNS President, Šuker Out After 9 Years?

July 6, 2021 - Davor Šuker's 9-year stint as HNS president will last until July 29, with Marijan Kustić likely to take over the leading role in the Croatian Football Federation.

Namely, Marijan Kustić was nominated for the president of HNS by his county union, and judging by the photo coming from Lika-Senj County, at least 18 of the 21 county unions gave him support. Considering that the Zagreb Football Association president, Tomislav Svetina, who was the only one who could nominate Davor Šuker, is also in this picture, it is evident that this candidacy will not take place. Even if the ZNS wanted to nominate Šuker, it would not be able to because it officially needs the support of at least seven county unions, reports Sportske Novosti.

Kustić was also supported by Ante Vučemilovi-Šimunović from Osijek, as well as the dismissed chief referee Ante Kulušić on behalf of the Šibenik-Knin County. Thus, it can be said that the photo from the Lika-Senj Association reveals the future of Croatian football, with Marijan Kustić in the lead role.

The Lika-Senj County Association announcement is transmitted in its entirety:

"At yesterday's Assembly session in Gospić, in the presence of all its members, the Lika-Senj County Football Association supported the candidacy of its county president Marijan Kustić for the president of the Croatian Football Federation by acclamation.

In addition to members of the Lika-Senj County Football Association, the assembly was attended by the presidents of 17 county football associations in Croatia.

This is also the first official nomination for the top position of the Croatian Football Federation. 

After the election, Marijan Kustić thanked all members of the Assembly for their tremendous support, but also all the presidents of the county football federations who increased the presidential candidacy of the current executive director of HNS and the president of the Lika-Senj County Football Association. 

After this nomination of the parent county federation, Kustić will gather support from at least six more county football federations in the next few days to become official for his candidacy for president of the HNS.

The election assembly of the Croatian Football Federation will be held on July 29 this year in Zagreb," the statement said.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 4 July 2021

2021 HNS Elections: Will Marijan Kustić Replace Davor Šuker?

July 4, 2021 - The 2021 HNS elections will be held on July 29 in Zagreb, where Marijan Kustić should replace Davor Šuker as the Croatian Football Federation president. 

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has called elections. An Assembly to elect a new president, vice presidents, and the Executive Board of the Federation will be held on July 29 at noon at the Westin Hotel. The process has begun in which interested presidential candidates must receive the official nomination of their county union and the signatures of support from six more counties. The deadline for submitting the candidacy is July 14, i.e., 15 days before the Assembly.

ZNS, which has had a president for decades, especially two longtime Vlatko Marković and Davor Šuker, will not highlight its man this time but will support Marijan Kustić. According to information from football circles, it is very likely that Kustić will be the only candidate. He is a representative of Lika-Senj County. Although, of course, someone else can always get into the race.

"The candidate we will support will certainly be the new president," Tomislav Svetina, the first man of the ZNS, told Sportske Novosti. Kustić is the current executive director of the Federation.

In the week ahead, Kustić is officially embarking on a short campaign. First of all, he must be nominated as a candidate by the Assembly of the National Assembly of Lika-Senj County, which is a formality. According to the agenda, the HNS Electoral Assembly should begin with a greeting from the previous president Davor Šuker. The question is whether he will show up.

Why did Suker fall? HNS says the trigger was an Executive Board meeting in March that he did not want to attend even though he was sitting in his office in the Federation in the next room. Moreover, he tried to undermine its maintenance was dissatisfied with some decisions. At that session, a new Commission for Judges was elected with President Bruno Marić, and some marketing decisions were made that Šuker did not like. However, the reasons for his end in the HNS are certainly much deeper.

HNS is negotiating with Stipe Pletikos as a new name in the Federation. The function of the technical director was mentioned, then the director who would take care of Croatian players around the world so that the "Sosa case" would not happen again. Some also say that it is possible for Pletikosa to be a member of the Executive Board, which will be resolved by the Assembly.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Croatia National Team Stadium Back on Table, HNS Hopes it Won't Take 9 Years to Build

December 9, 2020 - Building a Croatia national team stadium is back on the table. Representatives of HNS, the City of Zagreb, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport weigh in on what's next.

Index.hr reports that on HRT's show Otvoreno on Tuesday evening, the topic was constructing a Croatia national stadium.

The guests of the show were the executive director of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) Marijan Kustić, former footballer and president of the football union Dario Šimić, state secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Tomislav Družak, director of the Institute for Physical Planning of the City of Zagreb Ivica Rovis and HRT sports commentator Stjepan Balog.

For footballers, the issue of the national stadium has become offensive

Dario Šimić was the most specific about the construction of the new stadium.

"I'm worried that we are repeating ourselves. We have to wait a long time for the paperwork; it takes two to three years before the construction itself. We can realistically expect that stadium in 2030. We are doing the show, we have done it before, but this issue of the national stadium has already become offensive for us footballers," said Šimić, after which Marijan Kustić took the floor.

Funding football infrastructure is not the job of the Federation

"I would like Dinamo representatives to be here with us. They are mostly in that part of the agreement with the City. I hope it won't take us nine years to build a stadium. People are upset that we are talking about a national stadium. We are talking about the stadium in Zagreb, and the people from Dinamo were supposed to be here. The plan should go ahead as soon as possible. I think that something bad needs to happen at Maksimir stadium to start something," Kustić explained and continued.

"In the last few years, we have invested over 70 million kuna in stadiums through the HNS Executive Board, which should be the duty of clubs and cities. That is why we are constantly initiating investment in infrastructure. This is not the Federation's job, and I do not see which federation in Croatia and Europe invests so much in sports infrastructure. Dario Simic said it well; a man shudders when he sees what kind of stadium we have in Zagreb."

If the decision is not made immediately, nothing will be initiated

Šimić replied to Kustić.

"The society and the 1,500 clubs in Croatia deserve better infrastructure. If we don't start now and make a decision right away, nothing will start. Everything else is frustrating and sad."

State Secretary Tomislav Družak also joined the discussion

"A meeting of HNS, the City of Zagreb and Dinamo was organized two months ago. The Ministry of Tourism and Sport is initiating the construction of the stadium. We will not be financiers; we can participate in projects and give ideas, which can be the way. If the City wants to build a stadium, it has to find a model in which Dinamo will participate. They need to be asked something. Croatia needs a multifunctional and self-sustaining stadium that will not take taxpayers' money," Družak said.

In the end, host Damir Smrtić asked Marijan Kustić if HNS would implement a hybrid lawn at Poljud.

"A letter was sent to Hajduk today. Next Tuesday is a meeting with Hajduk regarding the construction of a hybrid pitch," Kustić concluded.

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

Monday, 16 November 2020

HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustic Says Croatia Will No Longer Play at Maksimir

November 16, 2020 - Croatia will no longer play at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, confirmed the executive director of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), Marijan Kustic.

Index.hr reports that this is even though Dinamo started repairing the south stand, which was destroyed in the earthquake.

Recall, there was room for the national team at Maksimir in reduced capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. Still, when the spectators return to the stands, the national team will no longer play at the infamous Zagreb stadium.

"We do not want to question at all that our national team, 2018 World Cup finalists, must have an adequate stadium in the capital. Maksimir is no longer an adequate stadium for the World Cup finalists. The city of Zagreb must give answers to Dinamo and finally find a solution and take action to build a new one. It would be inappropriate for the capital and a club like GNK Dinamo to have such a dilapidated stadium," Kustic said, noting that there are many countries that are neither at the economic nor football level of Croatia, but have better stadiums.

Kustic mentioned that the spectators are a priority for HNS and that they do not have adequate conditions at Maksimir. In Rijeka, Pula, Varazdin, Osijek, and Split, the situation is different, so the national team will play there in the future until the situation in Zagreb is resolved.

According to a rough estimate, more than a billion kuna has been pumped into Maksimir so far. That is why the Croatian Football Federation launched the idea of building a national stadium.

"We want the national team to play all over Croatia, but the stadium in Zagreb is no longer comfortable, half of the stands are not working, everything is closed and depressing. After the earthquake, the situation worsened; we don't know if it is safe. My personal opinion is that the national team's time at Maksimir has passed," Miskovic said.

The national team does not want to play at the stadium either, and in October, after the match against Sweden, Zenit stopper Dejan Lovren spoke about it publicly.

"All the national teams are surprised that we were second in the world, and we have such conditions. Two or three thousand people came to the match against Sweden at the ugliest stadium in Europe. People didn't have umbrellas, they were rained on, and I wanted to shake everyone's hand. It is inadmissible for a national team like ours, which promoted Croatia in the best possible way, to come here and rightly listen to the Sweden coach's insults. Obviously, some priorities in this country are not right. Some priorities, such as the cable car, are irrelevant. I think that hospitals, kindergartens, and schools should be built first, and then maybe a stadium, but we are not looking for that for ourselves, but for the people who come to watch us. I think we will wake up only when Serbia makes a national stadium," Lovren said at the time. 

After the national team campaign in October, coach Zlatko Dalic was also clear about using Maksimir stadium for national team matches.

"I don't know what else to say about it. I've been talking for two years; others have been talking for a decade. Maybe we shouldn't talk anymore but cut and say we won't play there. We keep saying it's not a stadium for the national team, and we keep coming. Maybe HNS should say it a lot; we don't play there anymore, although it would be inconvenient to avoid a city again when hosting the national team," said Dalic.

In October, Croatia last played in Zagreb in the Nations League matches against Sweden (2:1) and France (1:2), when a third of the stadium's capacity was open. The only match in November that will be played at home, against Portugal, will be at Poljud on Tuesday.

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

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Coronavirus Enters HNS: Executive Director Marijan Kustic Comments on Situation

August 30, 2020 - HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustic explained the current situation in HNS, after they announced that members of the U-21 national team staff are coronavirus-positive.

Gol.hr reports that COVID-19 has entered the Croatian Football Federation. HNS issued a statement on Saturday:

"Two members of the youth national team staff, including coach Igor Biscan, are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (without symptoms), so the current coach will not lead the U-21 national team at the upcoming September gathering.

Due to close contact with the infected, other members of Biscan's staff, in addition to Renato Pilipovic, have to go into self-isolation for 14 days,” reads the HNS statement, among other things.

Nova TV reporter Milan Stjelja discussed the topic with HNS executive director Marijan Kustic.

"For the sake of prevention, we tested the staff of the senior and youth national teams. Unfortunately, we have now heard that the coach of the U-21 national team, Igor Biscan, is positive for the coronavirus, as well as another member of the staff. We heard from each other on several occasions today, Igor has no symptoms, but the result is positive, so he and his staff have to go to self-isolation for 14 days due to close contact,” Kustic said in the introduction.

The young national team will play two important matches in the Euro U-21 qualifiers at the beginning of September. Who will replace Biscan on the bench?

"We only had consultations today, in which Biscan also participated by phone. We agreed that the U-17 national team coach Tomislav Rukavina and the HNS chief instructor Petar Krpan would take over.“

Luckily, there are no positive results in the headquarters of the senior national team.

"It is gratifying, the entire staff headed by coach Dalic is negative. For the sake of prevention, we tested everything so as not to get into a situation where the virus, God forbid, spreads at the gathering, to bring playing the matches into question.”

What about the players?

"They must come to the gathering with negative results that must not be older than 72 hours."

Certainly of interest to the Croatian public is the HNS decision to play an exhibition match in Donji Miholjac between the veterans of Jedinstvo and veterans of the Croatia national team, which also featured the president of the Federation Davor Suker, with a limited audience.

When we know that HNS decided to play the end of the season without spectators, and there are currently no spectators in the new season,  was the wrong step taken?

"I can only say that the club Jedinstvo from Donji Miholjac, on the occasion of their anniversary, asked veterans of the Croatia national team to come and enhance their jubilee. Of course, before that, they had a meeting with the local Civil Protection Headquarters, with the obligation to respect all epidemiological measures. I am convinced that this was the case,"  concluded Kustic.

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