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.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Croatia on The New York Times List of Countries Open to US Citizens for Travel

July 8, 2020 - The New York Times published a list of countries US citizens can travel to, with or without COVID-19 restrictions. Croatia is on it.

In a piece titled 'I'm a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?', NY Times writer 

"Even as many countries remain off-limits to American visitors because of the high rate of coronavirus within the United States, about two dozen others have started to welcome, and in some cases woo, U.S. citizens to come spend their tourist dollars. Still, would-be vacationers generally face a host of conditions and a lot of travelers beware.

The U.S. State Department continues its Global Level 4 Health Advisory, which cautions against international travel because of the pandemic. However, it is also posting country-specific information as restrictions loosen.

Getting there is only part of the equation. Countries have their own Covid-19 mitigation measures that might include curfews or curtailed activities and services; most standard travel insurance policies won’t cover medical or travel expenses related to the coronavirus; and borders can close and flights be canceled with little warning, stranding people in foreign countries," Schwartz writes before listing the counties in alphabetical order. 

Croatia is among the countries currently allowing US citizens to enter.

"Members of European Union countries can enter Croatia for any reason, but American tourists may visit only with proof of paid accommodation," Schwartz writes, which echoes the info in Croatia's Biggest Travel Update on TCN. 

Along with Croatia, the list includes Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Ecuador, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Kosovo, Maldives, Mexico, North Macedonia, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Tanzania, Turkey, Turks and Caicos, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. You can see the full list here.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Tuesday, 12 May 2020

New York Times Praises Croatian Resilience in Coronavirus Fight

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of May, 2020, countries like Croatia and Greece, which introduced early measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, have experienced greater citizen cooperation, which is linked to the experiences of wars and financial crises, according to The New York Times.

During the coronavirus pandemic, a paradox was observed in the world: Rich countries didn't prove to be any better at fighting the crisis than poorer ones.

Wealthy countries, which have traditionally been able to allocate resources quickly, strengthened by well-funded government mechanisms designed to better overcome crises, have generally not managed the coronavirus pandemic well at all.

In Europe, the disease has ravaged Britain, France and Italy, three of the four largest economies on the European continent. But smaller, poorer countries in Europe have quickly imposed and applied the strict restrictions they have adhered to and have so far had more success in curbing the spread of the new virus.

Among these countries, some of which are now cautiously re-opening their economies and societies, are those with strong reserves of resilience as a result of experiences from relatively recent difficult times. Given what their residents went through not so long ago, these coronavirus-induced measures seemed less strenuous and prompted far greater social cooperation.

As an example of these countries, the New York Times points out countries such as Greece and Croatia, in which the authorities have a positive view of the resilience of their population, reports N1.

In Croatia, many still remember being indoors listening to the sound of sirens during the Homeland War. In Greece, where restrictions imposed during the tragic debt crisis are still fresh in the memory of the population, the possibility of one in three people losing their job is nothing all that new.

They cite the experience of Iza Morovic, a 45-year-old barber from Zadar, who, after being isolated in his house with his wife and two young daughters, recalled the war in the early 1990s, when he ran up to a nearby hill to sound an air raid siren.

“I was a kid, I remember playing football and seeing them falling from the sky,” he said. He believes that the disciplined and calm way in which Croats responded to the coronavirus pandemic was a consequence of the recent memories of war and the harsh legacy of communism.

Analysing different responses to the pandemic, Oxford University scientists have developed a scale of stringency, seeking to assess the strength of measures taken by various governments to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Here in Croatia, whose ratings are at the very top of the scale that measures the severity of the anti-epidemic measures, 90 people have so far died from coronavirus, bringing the country's death rate to 2.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. In New York State, that number is 137 per 100,000.

Overall, the severity of the measures is higher in Eastern Europe than it is in Western Europe, said Thomas Hale, an associate professor of public policy at Oxford University who is also the project leader. Many of these European countries are run by centre-right governments.

"Croatia has reached the maximum on our scale of stringency," Hale said. Reiterating Iza Morovic's thoughts on discipline, he added: "It's possible that people are less willing to resist and more willing to accept tougher measures."

This way of managing the crisis has enabled Croatia to be one of the first, back on April the 27th, to cautiously ease some restrictions. Greece lifted its restructions on May the 4th, and other countries in the area, such as the Czech Republic and Croatia's neighbour to the north, Slovenia, are gradually returning to a sense of normalcy.

The word that is sometimes applied to societies in these parts of Europe is “resilience”.

Professor Frosso Motti-Stefanidi, who teaches at the University of Athens, is a global authority in interpreting this type of resilience. He says this trait is best defined as “a person or society that functions well despite experiencing acute stress or long-term adversity”.

But in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, she said, resilience alone doesn't explain why some countries are better able to deal with the crisis than others: Positive outcomes rely on citizens who believe the measures the government is taking are appropriate, leading to trust and respect.

For more on coronavirus in relation to Croatia, follow our dedicated section.