Saturday, 13 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić: "Croatia-Russia Qualifier at Poljud is Our Final"

November 13, 2021 - The Croatia national team is in Split ahead of the last 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia at Poljud on Sunday. Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press on Saturday and agreed that the Croatia-Russia qualifier at Poljud is the final. 

After defeating Malta 7:1 in Valletta, morale is high - and a sold-out Poljud stadium is the best motivation to secure a spot at the World Cup next year in Qatar. 

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press at Poljud on Saturday to discuss the critically important match on Sunday. Only the winner is guaranteed a spot in Qatar. 

"We will see how Russia will play tomorrow. We have to be strong from the start; we know what we want. We need to be aggressive. That will be the most important tomorrow," said Luka to open the conference. 

"I know all the Russia players, and they have many young talented players as well. The ambient in Split is phenomenal, and I believe it will be that way tomorrow, and that will give us the motive to play well and bring us the win," Luka added. 

"This is football; this is sport. We believe in ourselves; we have a good team. The pitch is the only measure. We will decide on the pitch the better team. 

We knew when we saw the qualifying group that Russia would be the toughest. Tomorrow is the final, for them and for us. That makes it a different kind of game. We are the favorite in front of our fans, and we will show that on the pitch.

This is the most crucial game for us since the 2018 World Cup. This is the most important game for this team.

We are 100% focused on this game. We will show that tomorrow. Split and Poljud mean a lot. I remember the last match against Hungary, and the ambient was already there when we went to warm up. So this will be the motivation for us. 

The atmosphere is really good in the team, and of course, when we win and play well, that lifts the atmosphere. The young players have shown that we can count on them. I am pleased with the future of Croatia football," concluded Luka Modrić. 

"All players with us are in great shape. Nikola Vlašić is in much better form than the last Croatia action together. 

Russia was tough in the World Cup. A lot of players we played against at the World Cup are no longer on the team. They have many young new players now. But this is a different game than at the 2018 World Cup - this is a final," said coach Zlatko Dalić. 

"We knew this game had to be in Split due to the atmosphere and the public. However, all of our games played around Croatia have had an incredible atmosphere. I always feel good in Split, welcomed, and I am happy. I am calm and focused on tomorrow's game. 

We won't change many details in the lineup from Malta. We have a lot of good attackers. Vlašić is back; Majer had an incredible game against Malta. Pašalić is in brilliant form. But we don't want to change a lot in the lineup," added Dalić. 

"We are fighters, winners, and will do that tomorrow. But, we have to be smart," concluded Dalić. 

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

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Ticket Prices Announced for Croatia and Slovenia World Cup Qualifier at Poljud

August 25, 2021 - Ticket prices for the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Croatia and Slovenia have been announced by HNS. However, the National Civil Protection Headquarters still needs to determine if spectators will be allowed, with a decision set for September 1. Croatia and Slovenia are due to meet on September 7 at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

The 2nd session of the Croatian Football Federation Executive Board was held in Zabok in the Gjalski Castle, hosted by the Krapina-Zagorje County Football Federation, announced HNS on Wednesday.

The HNS Executive Board has determined the ticket prices for the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Croatia and Slovenia (September 7 at 20:45), which will be held in the presence of spectators if permitted by measures to be announced by the National Civil Protection Headquarters on September 1.

The following prices have been determined:
West middle: 200 kn presale / 250 kn on the day of the match
West: 150 kn presale / 200 kn on the day of the match
East center: 120 kn presale / 150 kn on the day of the match
East: 100 kn presale / 120 kn on the day of the match
North: 80 kn presale / 100 kn on the day of the match
South: 80 kn presale / 100 kn on the day of the match

Information on ticket sales will be published after the Headquarters decide if the match will be played in front of an audience.

The Executive Board also adopted all the materials needed to hold the women's football competition - calendar, leadership, and competition propositions for the 1st HNLŽ, 2nd HNLŽ, 1st HNL pioneers, HNKŽ, and women's youth at the center level, as well as the list of refs for these competitions. 

The IO appointed the presidents of the HNS commissions and adopted the list of delegates for the 3rd HNL.

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

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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia and Russia to Meet at Poljud in November

July 20, 2021 - Croatia and Russia will meet at Poljud Stadium in Split to close out the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Group H. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board has registered Poljud Stadium as the host of the Croatia and Russia match as part of the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in 2022, reports HNS.

Croatia and Russia have played four times so far, with Croatia recording two wins and two draws. Recall, Croatia and Russia most recently met in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup at Fisht Stadium in Sochi. The match finished 1:1 thanks to a goal by Kramarić before going into extra time when Vida scored for the 2:1 lead. Fernandes equalized in the final minutes, forcing to game to penalties. Rakitić scored the winning penalty, advancing Croatia to the semifinal match against England. 

Split will host two Croatia national team matches this fall - on September 7, Croatia will host Slovenia on Poljud (20:45), and the competition in Group H will end on November 14 at 15:00 against Russia. In other news, the 2018 World Cup finalists will host Slovakia on October 11 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek.

After the introductory three rounds in March, the Croatia national team leads in Group H with six points, the same number of points as Russia, while Slovakia is one point behind. Croatia is expected to play against Russia (September 1) and Slovakia (September 4) in September, and the three-match program will end in Split against Slovenia.

The 10 first-placed national teams in their groups will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the second-placed national teams will compete in the playoffs in March 2022. The 2022 World Cup will be held in an untraditional term, from 21 November – 18 December 2022. 

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Saturday, 5 June 2021

Works Continue on Long-Awaited New Poljud Pitch (VIDEO)

June 5, 2021 - Good news for Hajduk fans - works are currently underway on a brand new Poljud pitch that will soon crown the beloved Split stadium! 

Hajduk announced that installing the new hybrid lawn on the main Poljud pitch is in full swing. In accordance with the planned deadlines, the first planned phase of works, removing the lawn and preparing the substrate in cooperation with the company Jadro, has been completed.

In addition, 11 centimeters of old quartz sand were removed for better drainage, and the base for laying new quartz sand was leveled. Among other things, the grass surfaces of the warm-up area and the entire surrounding part outside the tartan track are being renewed.

The field was taken over by the Croatian Football Federation on Friday together with the contractor. In the next phase, they will lay the new pitch! 

 

The latest generation hybrid lawn will eventually cover the current field sand, and Hajduk will soon get the national team-worthy pitch it deserves.

Hajduk's new coach, Jens Gustafsson, will gather the team on June 14 and lead them at the beginning of preparations for the new competitive season.

Hajduk will train until June 17 in Split, when they will head down south to Konavle for three trainings before the first preparatory match. Hajduk will be guests at the 100th-anniversary celebration of HNK Slaven Gruda on June 19 at 5 pm at the Gnjila Sports Center playground.

After visiting the Dubrovnik surroundings, Hajduk will return home to train at Poljud until June 23. The team will then leave for fifteen-day preparations in Slovenia. This year, Hajduk's expedition will stay and do a series of training in the new preparation base in Zreče.

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

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 3-9, 2021

May 7, 2021 - TCN's regular retrospect of Highlights of the week, through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

President Milanović loved by locals in Plaški. Firefighters quickly reacted to the fire in Zagreb recycle yard. Pula celebrated its liberation while Šibenik received new doses of coronavirus vaccines. Dinamo and Hajduk end their match in a tie. Overall another interesting week in Croatia, and here are more details on all highlights.

 Highlights of the week: President Milanović loved in Plaški county

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© Kristina Stedul Fabac/ PIXSELL

Croatian president Zoran Milanović visited Plaški county near Ogulin on Tuesday to visit the newly-build Firefighter's home and Plaški Culture Home. The locals welcomed president Milanović with ovations, and many use the opportunity to handshake and take a photo with the president. As Večernji List reports, Milanović took the visit as an opportunity to comment on the hate speech incident at Borovo Selo. He stated that the President of Serbian National Council Milorad Pupovac and Croatian Prime Minister „should use the police, but they don't, they are causing incidents.

Highlights of the Week: Pula celebrating its liberation in WW2

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© Srecko Niketic/ PIXSELL

Pula celebrated its annual liberation day and the Pula City Day, marked on May 5. In Tito's park, the traditional commemoration to the fallen WW2 soldiers of Tito's partisan army saw Tiziano Sošić (president of Pula City Council), Elena Puh Belci (vice mayor of Pula), Aleksandar Matić (chief of the City of Pula Office) and Fabrizio Radin (vice-county ruler of Istria county) paid their respects. Representatives of associations of anti-fascist fighters and anti-fascist of the city of Pula were present too. 

 Highlights of the Week: Dinamo and Hajduk end with an even score 1:1

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© Milan Sabic/ PIXSELL

Hajduk and Dinamo's eternal opponents played another game at Hajduk's home of Poljud Stadium in Split on Wednesday. The match was the 22nd round in Croatian First League, and fans couldn't wait for it as the game was postponed.

Hajduk opened the match well and had a chance to take the lead in the first 20 seconds. Kačaniklić received an excellent long ball and ran on the right side. He rushed into the penalty area and shot diagonally, but Livaković came out and closed his corner. Dinamo improved and took the lead in the 16th minute with a goal by Majer, and Livaja returned the favor in the 44th minute. Diamantakos hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the match but without success.

After three victories in the previous three clashes with Hajduk this season, Dinamo failed to achieve maximum performance and almost mathematically secured the title but entered the last four rounds with a seven-point advantage over Osijek. The fail happened despite Dinamo facing Hajduk with the strongest possible lineup.  

Highlights of the Week: Vaccination in Šibenik continues successfully

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© Hrvoje Jelavic/ PIXSELL

Larger quantities of vaccines came to Šibenik on Friday, allowing vaccination in Baldeki Sports Hall to go without problems for the second day in the row. The vaccination attracts a number of citizens, so the area got quite crowded.

Highlights of the Week: Recycling yard in Zagreb on fire, reasons unclear

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© Matija Habljak/ PIXSELL

Zagreb's recycling yard, located on Sarajevska Cesta in Novi Zagreb, was victimized by fire but quickly localized and put under control on Tuesday. The fire caught four containers, and 21 firefighters with six fire trucks rushed to the field. Police investigated the cause of the fire, but the reason is, for the moment, unknown. Firefighters managed to operate despite the lack of hydrants, and the thick white smoke was noticed by citizens who live in the buildings close to the yard, reported Večernji List. 

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For more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Love Declaration: Billboard Proposal In Split Captures Croatia's Heart

February 1, 2021 – A bold declaration of love that first captured hearts in the city of Split has now travelled all across Croatia, as one city resident requested the hand of his beloved in a billboard proposal

Dominating the skyline on the city's northern shores, Poljud is perhaps the best known - and most visually impressive – football stadium in Croatia. Holding near 35, 000 people and boasting sleekly curved roofs on opposite sides, you can't help but admire the relatively modern arena when it is in eyesight.

But, over recent days, the gaze of city residents has drawn by a competing spectacle nearby. In an unabashed declaration of love and intent, one Split resident has placed a billboard proposal within eyesight of the stadium and the local swimming pools. The petition for marriage has captured the hearts of any passing by.

Screenshot_142.pngHow local media outlet Dalmatinski Portal revealed the romantic request. Their story has since been picked up by national media and captured hearts all across Croatia © Dalmatinski Portal screenshot

Translated, the text of the billboard proposal reads:

"Baby
Here's where we met
Here's where you took my hand
Here's where I ask for your hand"

The billboard proposal was pictured and the romantic request revealed by local media outlet Dalmatinski Portal. Many Split residents had already seen the billboard proposal for themselves – it is prominently positioned near the crossroads where Osmih mediteranskih igara, Put Supavla and Ulica Zrinsko Frankopanska meet, in the area of the city which is also called Poljud. But, the story has since been picked up by national media in Croatia and has now raised hearts and smiles all across the country. And they say romance is dead!

No word has yet arrived as to whether the billboard proposal has been accepted. Perhaps the response might be issued in a more private manner? Or, if the recipient is as bold in expression as the proposer, perhaps keep your eyes peeled on the billboards of Split for a joyous 'yes'.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Poljud Celebrates 41 Years, 100 Million Kuna Renovation Project in Works

September 6, 2020 - Poljud celebrates 41 years. Retired professor Ante Mihanovic from the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy in Split spoke about the condition of the stadium after so many years, how it could look in a new guise, and how long the renovation works could last.

Slobodna Dalmacija writes Poljud stadium, the work of architect Boris Magas, is celebrating its 41st birthday. 

Even as a young engineer and associate of the chief constructor, engineer Bozenko Jelic, Mihanovic participated in the design of the stadium until the main project stage. Then, after construction, he led the monitoring of that demanding construction for more than two decades. A few years ago, also as part of the team of the Faculty in Split, he was one of the reviewers of the stadium renovation project developed by the IGH Institute.

To begin with, he spoke about the reasons why the Faculty carefully monitored the construction of Poljud for more than 20 years:

"A year after its construction, vibrations were noticed in high parts of the auditorium. We found that these are millimeter shifts on the large console, which are insignificant. But they created an uncomfortable feeling, because people are used to vertical vibrations, and not really to horizontal ones.

Also, it was the first time that the company "Mero" had produced a structure that is curved over 200 meters.

"That construction was something new in Europe. As an architectural work, it was met with a lot of praise in the world and it is the only building structure from the former Yugoslavia that has entered the literature of universities in Western Europe. The only!" points out the interlocutor, who is an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, a regular member of the Croatian Academy of Technical Sciences, was the dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Split for 12 years and is still active at the age of 71.

Mihanovic continues that there was a 10-year warranty period for the quality of performance.

"Initially, we removed the cracks on the main supports that were expected and the contractor agreed to repair them. So, the stadium was monitored, but not maintained," he notes.

"There are norms in the profession that the City, as the owner of the sports facility, did not respect. Namely, the stadium was supposed to be maintained after the age of 10, considering the steel construction, which means that it is protected against corrosion, dust is removed from it, and to see how the installations, screws and everything else work. Upstairs you also have KIC cabins and trails. Steel structures are generally inspected in detail every five years, and I would say that renovation should be done every 10 years. This has not been done so far."

A few years ago, an initiative was launched from the City to start the renovation, which would replace everything that has not been done for these 40 years.

"It has been warned countless times that a renovation is needed, because the more difficult it is, the more expensive the intervention will be. It has now reached the amount of 100 million kuna, which is a considerable amount. The recent decision to declare the stadium a cultural monument, because it is - a top architectural and construction work, allows you to apply for European funds for rehabilitation."

The IGH Institute won the tender for the preparation of the rehabilitation project, and professors Bernardin Peros and Ante Mihanovic from the Faculty of Split were reviewers.

"We reviewed the entire project on which about 30 experts from the Institute and their associates worked. It has been accepted and is located in the City and in Hajduk, and is on its way to being applied for EU funds. With the realization of this complete project, the stadium will be brought to a state that would be very close to the state after construction."

With one hundred million kuna...

"We will change the lexan cover and metal substructures, use anticorrosive to protect all metal roof structures and remove defects, restore and finally repaint all concrete structures, which will be refreshed in appearance. Then there are interventions on electrical and mechanical installations, and on the fire protection system. The stated estimated amount does not include the interior design of landscaping and lawns."

At one time, the installation of solar panels was mentioned as an idea.

"Solar panels are out of the question because this would change the shape of the roof, and it should be in the same shape as the original. The Belgian factory, which produces lexan boards, has informed those working on the renovation project that they have preserved the molds and are likely to make more favorable offers to make new boards. To this factory, as well as to the company "Mero" from Germany, Poljud stadium was a reference for future business, and they follow everything that happens around," said Mihanovic, who adds:

"The steel substructure is in the worst condition, to which the cover is attached with screws. Due to the substructure, the entire cover must be removed.

It seems that in the construction itself, the substructure was perfectly solved. However, there was a hurry with the construction, the stadium was built in less than two years, so it was not possible to wait for someone else to deliver it.

Also, the structures were partially damaged in the shooting during the war, as JNA soldiers from Lore practiced shooting in some parts of the stadium. There is also damage by the nature of things - zinc and anti-corrosion protection is not preserved everywhere and will have to be partially restored and of course, there will be painting."

Of that 100 million kuna, 40 million kuna are for metal parts - the roof and everything next to it, and 60 million for the concrete structure.

"You have damage and patches on the concrete structure. All damage should be removed, compensated for where the reinforcement is missing, restored and repainted. So all the spectator supporter beams will be renewed. Then you have bridges, tunnels, retaining walls - they all need to be inspected and rebuilt. The bridge on the promenade above Hajduk's premises is in the worst condition because the drainage was not good there and water was retained on it."

The renovation project is complete, says Mihanovic, and, in his opinion, very well made.

The city of Split must act within a certain deadline.

"In my opinion, the renovation should be carried out within 10 years, because after that there will be low reliability of the elements that are overhead, and there will be a risk of someone getting hurt. Also, the longer you wait, the more you will have to invest in renovation. So the sooner you start, the cheaper it will be."

The rehabilitation, he adds, will take several years.

"Objectively, you will not have a hundred teams to attack at once. For example, if you started painting 12,000 rods of steel construction with a group of a dozen people, you would do so for so long that when they get to the other end, you would have to start all over again, provided you renew the paint every five years."

He continues that the stadium will not need to be closed for renovation works.

"Removing the cover and substructure can be done in the period when no matches are held at the stadium. When the renovation of the stands is done, work will be done on one part, and the other part will be used. Therefore, playing matches and partially filling the audience will always be allowed."

Mihanovic says that the stadium is still secure as it stands now.

"But it is simply a thing that ages, weakens day by day, and one day it must be repaired. You can leave it like that for another 20 years, but then it's not certain that some of those lexans won't fly from above."

The documentation is prepared to apply for European funds. 

"The application for funds will last at least from a year to a year and a half, followed by a public procurement for the selection of contractors. So, the renovation could start in two years at the earliest. The Poljud beauty will return to its original state, perhaps even better. The value of the stadium is 150 million euro. That is how much it would cost to make a new one. The renovation will cost only 10 percent of that amount. According to that, the building is in relatively good condition.

The designers were obliged to give it a shelf life of 50 years. It is without intervention in the structural parts, but with earlier maintenance. You can't let the construction go, you have to start maintaining it at some point."

The immediate work is numerical modeling, calculations and design of building structures.

"We worked on the calculation and design of the Poljud structure, partly on our own program, and something on the American STRESS, which was installed on "Srca" - University Computing Center in Zagreb," said Mihanovic.

So, what does Hajduk say?

"Project documentation has been prepared, and the City and Hajduk will apply for funding from EU funds from 2021 to 2027. We’re sending out funding applications in September, and we’ll know the results early next year, and maybe sooner. The roof renovation project is worth 102 million kuna, and the museum 44 million," said Marin Brbic, president of Hajduk.

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Friday, 26 June 2020

Hajduk Fans Return to Poljud Stadium after 114 Days

June 26, 2020 - Hajduk and Slaven Belupo met at Poljud Stadium for the 31st round of the Croatian First League. It was Hajduk's first game in front of home fans since the league came to a halt because of COVID-19. 

After Gorica topped Rijeka at Rujevica Stadium on Friday night, Hajduk met Slaven Belupo in front of their fans for the first time in 114 days. Recall, while other clubs were able to welcome back their fans already a few rounds ago, the Split club had to serve a punishment of a game behind closed doors. 

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With the coronavirus on the rise again in Croatia, stricter measures were enforced at the stadium. Namely, temperature checks were reinstated for journalists at the entrance, while we were asked to disinfect our hands before entering. Furthermore, we had to sit one per table instead of the usual two. The jumbo screen at the stadium also reminded fans to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. 

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Whether they feared the coronavirus would spread or were boycotting because of Hajduk's last two losses and drop to 5th place, the stadium wasn't nearly as full as expected, considering the Split club's beloved fans haven't seen them play in the flesh in almost four months. Namely, only 4,523 fans were in attendance. 

Hajduk played with a bit of a weaker squad on Friday night, missing a few starting players due to injuries and yellow cards. Slaven Belupo was also in a weaker form. A win for Hajduk was imperative.

The fans at Poljud showed enthusiasm at the beginning and Torcida's chants certainly helped Hajduk to their first goal. Caktaks scored a penalty for 1:0 in the 10th minute. 

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Slaven Belupo equalized thanks to an easy goal by Medjimorec in the 25th minute. The game ended 1:1 at the half. 

The second half started with only one Hajduk substitution, as Dolcek came on for Colina. Hajduk was quick to score their second goal, which came in the 59th minute. A header by Eduok rattled the Belupo keeper for 2:1!

Belupo was awarded a VAR penalty in the 90th minute, which was hit wide to keep the game 2:1 for Hajduk. Nine minutes of injury time were added, though neither team was able to score. Hajduk won 2:1. 

Dinamo and Osijek close out the 31st round on Saturday at Maksimir Stadium. Stay tuned for our 31st round recap on Monday. 

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

 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

On this Day in 1979, Poljud Stadium Opens in Split

September 12, 2019 - Poljud Stadium, one of Split’s most famous landmarks and the home of football club Hajduk Split, opened exactly 40 years ago today for the VIII Mediterranean Games in 1979.

24 Sata reports that Poljud Stadium was built following the project of prominent Croatian architect Boris Magas in 1979 for the needs of the VIII Mediterranean Games, after which it became the home of Hajduk Split. The stadium, known as "The Poljud Beauty”, is interesting because of its architectural composition -  its seashell-like design gives views of the nearby hills, sea, and islands, and was modeled after ancient Greek theaters.

The first football match at Poljud was played three days after the opening, but the attendance record was set in 1982 when there were between 55,000 to 60,000 people at the Split stadium. However, since there was no counter at the time, the exact number is based on speculation. The official capacity of Poljud is about 35,000 people.

Numerous sports and other events have taken place at Poljud, which are still held today. From the games of Hajduk to the Croatia national team, music festivals like Ultra, and concerts of Croatian singers, this building has seen it all.

Unfortunately, architect Boris Magas died in 2013, though some six years later, Hajduk hosted his grandson Bartol Pavusek and thanked him for his work and the efforts of his grandfather.

Although it is still one of the most beautiful stadiums in Croatia, many problems plague the 'Poljud beauty'.

At the time of its construction, Poljud’s comfort, unique roof structure and appearance was unsurpassed even in Europe, and because of this, in 2015, it was included in the list of protected cultural assets of the Republic of Croatia.  However, the passing of time and poor maintenance have left their mark.

Some say that Poljud’s roof structure is on the verge of collapsing, which resulted in various suggestions, one of them being that instead of the existing Lexan panels,  solar panels would be set up to generate electricity and collect rainwater to irrigate the pitch. The investment would pay off in 10-15 years, but, as usual, paperwork and money got in the way. 

In the last few years, Hajduk has made several interventions on rehabilitating and maintaining Poljud, with an investment of almost 40 million kuna. In 2019, a traffic light was repaired, in 2018, the damaged pitch from Ultra was changed, and two auxiliary terrains were built. A year earlier, the dressing rooms and all the facilities, such as the gym, first aid room, and fitness room were updated. Previously, the main pitch was drained and irrigated, and counters, barriers, and video surveillance were introduced. 

You can visit Poljud next to see Hajduk face Inter Zapresic and Varazdin, or wait until October for the highly anticipated Euro 2020 qualifier between the Croatia national team and Hungary. 

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

Monday, 25 March 2019

Ultra Europe Reveals Second Phase of Artists Performing in Split this Summer

March 25, 2019 - It is the news that many ‘Ultranauts’ around the world have been waiting for… Ultra Europe, the world's only destination festival, has finally revealed the second phase of performers set to take the stage in Split this summer. 

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