Saturday, 18 April 2020

Hajduk Thanks First-Team Players for Accepting Reduced Wages

April. 18, 2020 - HNK Hajduk has agreed with all first-team players to reduce wages as the competition is stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Split club reports that first-team players have accepted Hajduk's proposal to receive 40 percent of the contracted earnings over the next six months, the additional 40 percent will be deferred for six months and the remaining 20 percent will be permanently waived. Furthermore, the Club offered its players the chance to automatically reinstate the contracts from the time before the pandemic, in full, in the event they place in a European competition.

"HNK Hajduk thanks the players for their understanding and cooperation in reaching an agreement on reducing salaries in times of crisis in order to ensure the financial stability and sustainability of the Club in the long run. In such an atmosphere of mutual respect and unity within the Club, we are sure that the desired sports result will not be missed. We completed the contract process in record time. The management and part of the higher-income working community will also share the fate of the players," said Hajduk president Marin Brbić.

"We believe that we have negotiated with the players as responsibly and correctly as possible. We did not rush to make a decision and neither did it unilaterally, but through an agreement with the players, we wanted to achieve synergy. We decided not to communicate the draft agreement publicly, allowing players to peacefully consider all the circumstances affecting the Club and football in Croatia and to make their decision accordingly. We thank them once again for the demonstrated team spirit and solidarity they have shown in this situation where, in addition to donated funds in our humanitarian actions, they have once again shown great responsibility to our Club and the entire community," added the sports director Ivan Kepčija.

Led by captain Mijo Caktaš, Hajduk players showed exceptional understanding and solidarity in the agreement.

"This is a situation that happens once in history and in which we all have to bear our burden to keep the Club stable. I am especially pleased that the team showed their understanding of the new circumstances after the first meeting, and there was really no doubt that we players should stand in solidarity with the Club at the moment when football activities around the world stopped. The conversations were very fair, we all showed a great community together, and I would like to thank all the teammates for that once again. I believe that we as a team and Hajduk as a Club will come out stronger from all this," said Caktaš after the agreement with the players was officially signed.

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

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

VIDEO: Hajduk Begins Training at Poljud Under Specific Conditions

April 14, 2020 - Football is back! Well, almost. Hajduk Split returns to a much quieter Poljud to train under strict conditions.

Namely, Hajduk began training on Monday on the main and auxiliary grounds of Poljud. Training sessions are organized throughout the day.

Hajduk footballers have been given permission to train individually, i.e., without physical contact with other players and other people in general, as recommended by the Headquarters. The training is done by appointment, with two players training at the same time, one on the main pitch and one on Poljud's auxiliary grounds. Afterward, the players must go home because they are not allowed to shower at the stadium after training.

"The players will come to Poljud at different times and each player is alone on the field during training, which is in accordance with the instructions of the Civil Protection Headquarters," the club revealed.

The training is mainly about developing endurance and strength.

"This is how the Hajduk will train all week, and further activities will be organized in accordance with the latest instructions of the Civil Protection Headquarters," added Hajduk.

Recall, the Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation has adopted changes to the competition calendar in the 1st and 2nd Croatian League and Croatian Cup, taking into account the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the recommendation of UEFA, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) management has considered all the options in the calendar to allow a successful end to the competition year. Considering that the further course of the coronavirus pandemic is unpredictable, the HNS Executive Board has adopted three calendar options for the Croatian First League, Second League, and Croatian Cup competitions.

HNS has been in communication with the Central State Office for Sport on this subject, which is aware of and agrees with the decisions cited here.

Depending on the epidemiological situation in Croatia and the decisions of the competent authorities, the Executive Board will, by a specific decision, determine which version of the competition calendar change will apply.

In addition, the Olympic Committee has set deadlines by which it will announce a possibly selected version of the decision:

Option 1
1st HNL Competition Starts: May 16, 2020
2nd HNL Competition Starts: May 23, 2020
Completion of the 1st HNL and 2nd HNL Competition: July 18, 2020
Deadline: April 20, 2020

Option 2
1st HNL and 2nd HNL Competition Starts: May 30, 2020
Completion of the 1st HNL and 2nd HNL Competition: July 25, 2020
Deadline: May 4, 2020

Option 3
1st HNL and 2nd HNL Competition Starts: June 13, 2020
Completion of the 1st HNL Competition: August 2, 2020
Completion of 2nd HNL Competition: 1st August 2020
Deadline: May 18, 2020

Before the Croatian First League was interrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hajduk was in fourth place with 45 points, behind Lokomotiva (46), Rijeka (47) and Dinamo (65).

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

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Split Bowling Club Mertojak Tops One of Europe's Best for Champions League Semifinal

February 16, 2020 -  KK Mertojak was fantastic in the return Champions League quarterfinal game against the champions of Italy, Neumartkt Imperial Life. 

Supported by a packed Poljud bowling alley, KK Mertojak swept one of Europe's best professional teams with a high score of 7:1 (3677: 3595) and thus made up for the 3:5 loss from the first match, reports Dalmacija Danas.

It was a victory for the team, the community, and fans.

“This result is especially significant due to the fact that after 1999 (VK POŠK) this is the first team placement in the Champions League final four by a Split club (in a city that is considered to be one of the sportiest cities in the world). Unfortunately, at this moment, Mertojak is the only one of European value in the city of Split, and we hope that it will be recognized,” said KK Mertojak.

Mertojak’s success is building gradually, though they are already taking one step higher than last year. The next stop is Apatin, Serbia from March 28-29, where a caravan of fans will support Mertojak along the way.

The Mertojak bowling club was founded in 2006 as an amateur and neighborhood club, though they conceived it as a bowling school. They gathered a group of boys who were interested in the sport, and with proper training, good coaching and fair conditions, the results started to come. Mertojak moved from nothing to the first in the league.

They are led by Hrvoje Marinovic, the 2018 World Individual Finalist and the Mixed Doubles Finalist at the 7th World Senior Singles Championship held in Cluj, Romania. In the 2017/2018 season, the team also became the Croatian finalists, just behind Zaprešić in first.

The club initially trained at the Mertojak bowling alley, where they could work in excellent conditions. However, the owner discontinued the bowling alley for various reasons, and today, the club trains and plays at Poljud. Although it is a decent bowling alley, there are too few lanes. Due to this, and chronically small and limited financial resources, they are not able to host any competition. The city only contributes a little. 

Sponsorships are also nearly impossible in bowling, because it is not an Olympic sport.

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

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Happy 109th Birthday, Hajduk Split: Program Announced

February 13, 2020 - Hajduk Split has announced a vibrant program for its 109th birthday, which is celebrated on February 13. 

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the club made every effort to mark the birthday with dignity, and to bring together the Hajduk family in large numbers as appropriate. On this occasion, the Hajduk Interpretation Center and the Poljud Museum project will be presented.

Hajduk’s 109th birthday will also mark the 75th anniversary of Hajduk’s official honor by the Free France sports team. It will also mark a quarter-century since Hajduk’s first team was received by Pope John Paul the Second (1995).

The centerpiece of the celebration will begin at noon. The book "Hajduk and the World" will be promoted in the cinema hall of Poljud stadium. The book is authored by the club chronicler Jurica Gizdić. At the same place, the Hajduk Interpretation Center and the Poljud Museum will be presented.

Another showcase will open in honor of the legendary footballer and club official Dr. Šime Poduje. The Vis native was one of the most deserving people in the rebuilding of the club in 1944 as HŠK Hajduk. He played 226 games for Hajduk and scored 87 goals. He was a member of the 1927 and 1929 Hajduk championship teams.

At 9 am, a mass was held at St. Anthony's Church at Poljud for all the deceased players, coaches, fans, officials and members of the club.

Thereafter, wreaths were laid for all fans and members of the club in the Homeland War at the northern stand of the Poljud stadium, and at 10:30 am for all the deceased footballers at the Hajduk grave at Lovrinac Cemetery.

Program

9:00 - Holy Mass in the Church of St. Anthony at Poljud for deceased players, coaches, fans, officials and club members

9:45 - Wreaths in the northern stand for fans and club members killed in Homeland War

10:30- Wreaths for all deceased footballers at Hajduk's grave at Lovrinac Cemetery

12:00 - Promotion of the book "Hajduk and the World", by Jurica Gizdić and presentation of the Hajduk Interpretation Center and the Poljud Museum, both in the cinema hall at Poljud

13:15 - Showcase opening of the legendary footballer and official Dr. Šime Poduje in the trophy salon of the senior team

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

Monday, 2 December 2019

HNL Round 17 Recap: Hajduk Falls to Rijeka in Adriatic Derby at Poljud

December 2, 2019 - The 17th round of the Croatian First League was held from November 29 to December 1, 2019. This round featured the highly anticipated Adriatic Derby between Hajduk and Rijeka. 

Slaven Belupo v. Inter Zapresic (3:0)

Belupo and Inter opened the 17th round on Friday, November 29, 2019, in Koprivnica in front of 783 spectators. 

Belupo scored their first goal in the 15th minute thanks to Nowak, and Krstanovic increased the lead to 2:0 in the 26th minute. Mikulic scored in the 66th for 3:0, which was the final score of the game.

 

Belupo is currently in 7th place with 18 points, while Inter is in the last place with 11. 

Lokomotiva v. Gorica (4:0) 

Lokomotiva and Gorica met in Zagreb on Friday, November 29, 2019, in front of 583 spectators. 

Goals by Kastrati and Uzuni in the 40th and 41st minutes had Lokomotiva up 2:0 at the half. An own goal by Marina increased Lokomotiva’s lead to 3:0 in the 63rd minute, and Tolic ended the scoring spree in the 79th minute for 4:0. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 4th place with 28 points, while Gorica is in 6th with 25. 

Varazdin v.Osijek (1:1)

Varazdin and Osijek met on Saturday, November 30, 2019, at NK Varteks Stadium in front of 1,270 fans. 

Maric scored just before halftime to put Osijek in the lead, though Varazdin found a way to equalize thanks to a Glavica goal in the 77th minute for 1:1. 

 

Varazdin is currently in 9th place with 12 points, while Osijek is in 5th with 27.

Istra 1961 v. Dinamo (1:2)

Istra and Dinamo met on Saturday,  November 30, 2019, in Pula in front of 2,462 fans. 

Kadzior scored the first goal of the game for the 0:1 Dinamo lead in the 22nd minute, which was the score at the half. Orsic scored in the 49th for 0:2, though Istra’s Cuze gave the home team a goal in the 90th minute for a final score of 1:2. 

 

Istra is currently in 8th place with 12 points, while Dinamo is in 1st with 38. 

Hajduk v. Rijeka (0:4)

Hajduk and Rijeka closed out the 17th round on Sunday, December 1, 2019, at Poljud for the Adriatic Derby. 

The first goal of the game didn’t come until the 43rd minute when Acosty scored for the Rijeka lead. However, in the final minutes of the second half, Rijeka managed to increase their lead by three goals - Raspopovic in the 83rd, Gorgon in the 87th, and Halilovic in the third minute of added time. The game ended at 0:4 for Rijeka. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 31 points, while Rijeka is in 3rd with 28. 

You can see the full HNL table here.

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

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Croatian Cup Final: Mladost Tops Jug in Split for 2019 Title

November 24, 2019 - The Mladost Zagreb men's and women's water polo teams won the Croatian Cup in Split on Sunday. 

The first trophy of this water polo season goes to Zagreb! After a long eight years, the Croatian Cup Cup will shine again for the men's team at Mladost, which is their ninth total. At the Poljud pool in Split on Sunday, Mladost stopped the four-year-reign of Jug. 

HRT reports that the Mladost Zagreb men's team won the Croatian Cup on Sunday night after defeating Jug Dubrovnik 16-12 (3-3, 3-3, 7-4, 3-2) in the final in Split.

In a match with an unusually high number of goals, Mladost reached the Cup victory, mostly thanks to a great third quarter where they were up 7-4. Jug thus remains at 14 Cup trophies and have won the four previous seasons in a row.

Luka Bukić (4 goals), Cosmin Radu (3 goals), and Josip Vrlić and Franko Lazić, who scored two goals each, were the most effective for Mladost. Paulo Obradović scored five goals to be the best for Jug, while Loren Fatović scored three goals. 

The Mladost women's water polo team was also successful on Sunday and raised the Cup after a convincing victory over Split's Jadran. Namely, Mladost won the Croatian Cup after defeating Jadran in the final 20-5 to win their eighth Cup ever, and the third consecutive.

The Zagreb side was dominant in the victory, even though they were without their best possible lineup, as Petra Bukić, who was selected as the best Croatian water polo player in 2017 and 2018, was out due to injury.

However, the 2019 best player Emma Miljkovic was brilliant with six goals in the final. In the last minute of the second quarter, it was 11-0 for Mladost. Jadran's first goal came from a five-meter penalty. 

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

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Croatia Tops Hungary 3:0 at Poljud!

October 10, 2019 - Croatia and Hungary met at Poljud stadium in Split on Thursday for the first time since 2015. The stadium was nearly a sellout, and the national team was reunited with 32,110 of their Dalmatian fans.

The 2018 World Cup finalists and Hungary met in the 7th round of Group E in the 2020 Euro qualifications on Thursday in Split. Coach Zlatko Dalić was lucky to have his full squad, except for Andrej Kramarić, who is recovering from an injury. 

Thus, Croatia’s starting eleven included Dominik Livaković in goal, Tin Jedvaj, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, and Borna Barišić in the defense, Marcelo Brozović, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ante Rebić, and Ivan Perišić across the midfield, and Bruno Petković up top. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Recall, Croatia lost to Hungary 2:1 in their second Euro 2020 qualifier earlier this year. 

The game kicked off at 8:45 pm, and Croatia had their first chance two minutes in when Modrić’s volley went over the goal. Perišić shot at the keeper moments later, though it didn’t take long for them to score, after all. Captain Luka Modrić found himself one-on-one with the keeper to put Croatia in the lead five minutes into the game! 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia continued to press in the minutes that followed and maintained possession. Ivan Perišić had another chance in the 16th minute, though a deflection forced a corner for Croatia. A foul on Modrić resulted in a free-kick for Croatia just outside the penalty area, though Jedvaj couldn’t quite get to the ball. 

Hungary had its first corner in the 20th minute, which was followed by another in the 21st. Croatia’s defense cleared it out for yet another corner, though Hungary was unable to capitalize on their chances.

Croatia increased their lead in the 24th minute. Ante Rebić found himself on a counter-attack with Bruno Petković unmarked on the penalty spot. A Bruno back heel around the keeper made it 2:0 for Croatia. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had another dangerous attack in the 39th minute. Rebić once again carried the ball up the left-wing, with no Hungarian defender in sight. Rebić crossed into the box, though Petković was unable to get another goal. Though his second goal came just moments later - and Croatia was leading 3:0 at the half. 

Hungary came out hungry at the start of the second half and tried to push an attacking game, though the defense remained solid. Croatia was given a penalty in the 53rd minute, though Ivan Perišic shot at the keeper, which gave Croatia a corner in the end. Amidst the chaos, Hungary's Kleinheisler was given his second yellow card, and Croatia was up a player for the rest of the game. 

In the 59th minute, Dalić used his first substitution - young Brekalo went in for Perišić in the 60th minute. Luka Modrić was subbed out in the 66th minute for Mateo Kovačić. In the 67th minute, Hungary had a shot on goal, though it was an easy save for Dominik Livaković. 

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Slobodan Kadic

In the 73rd minute, Nikola Vlašić came on for Ivan Rakitić. 

With 10 minutes to go, Croatia continued their attacking game, and a goal by Vlašić was correctly called offside. Ante Rebić hit a rocket from the right in the 85th minute, which just missed the far post. Croatia was getting chances, though they couldn't get their fourth goal. 

After three minutes of injury time, the game ended 3:0 for Croatia, and the atmosphere at Poljud could not be matched.  

With this win, Croatia remains at the top of Group E. Their next match is against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, October 13. 

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

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Zlatko Dalic and Luka Modric Speak to Press at Poljud

October 9, 2019 - As most everyone in Croatia is already well aware, Croatia and Hungary will meet at Poljud stadium in Split on Thursday for a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier. This is the first time the national team has played in Split since 2015, and sold-out stadium awaits. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic and captain Luka Modric spoke to the media on Wednesday at Poljud ahead of the game. 

The Croatia national team moved to Split this week to prepare for their Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary. The team is staying at the Le Meridien Lav Hotel and trained in Omis before moving to Poljud for a night training on Wednesday evening. Before the team trained on Wednesday, coach Zlatko Dalic and captain Luka Modric met the press. 

The press conference started congratulating Luka for his goal against Granada. 

“Thank you. But the biggest thing is for us to win tomorrow in front of our fans.”

How does Luka feel about being back in Split?

“Everything is good so far haha. We are happy to be back at Poljud after such a long time. I expect a lot of support tomorrow and that the fans will carry us to a win. We can’t wait to be back here.”

What is the biggest factor in Croatia achieving a positive result on Thursday? 

“It’s most important how we enter the game. We must all play together on the same level. Hungary showed their quality already and that they’re dangerous. It’s a big game, and we must win to get through these qualifications and qualify for Euro peacefully.” 

How much psychological pressure is Luka feeling as captain, being back at Poljud, and playing in front of Dalmatia again?

“There is no pressure; we are only thinking positively. It’s been a long time since we have been here, and the atmosphere will be excellent.” 

It was Dalic’s turn to take the mic.

“We respect Hungary. It doesn’t matter that they’re missing a few players. We need to give everything we have tomorrow. We can't enter the game nervously. We must play with our heads and our hearts."

Kickoff is on Thursday at 8:45 pm. 

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

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Ivan Rakitic in Split: My Heart Beats for Croatia

October 8, 2019 - Croatia and Hungary will meet at Poljud on Thursday at 8:45 pm in a crucial qualifier for the European Championship next summer. Ivan Rakitic spoke to the media on Tuesday from the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Split. 

Headlines in Croatian media this week will focus heavily on a critical meeting of our 2018 World Cup finalists - Croatia will meet Hungary on Thursday in Split. And while Croatia's fate in the 2020 Euro competition lay heavily on the result itself, the match also carries more significance - it is the first time the Croatia national team has played in Split since 2015. 

Ivan Rakitic re-joined the team after he was absent from the lineup for Croatia's qualifiers in September, naming his alarming situation at Barcelona at the time as the reason. On Tuesday, he faced the Croatian media at the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Split, the home of the Croatia national team for the week. 

"I am very happy to play in Split. My best friends are here. I am happy to be with the team and staff again. The stadium sold out in a day; we await a full stadium of our fans."

Why did Rakitic opt out of the national team in September?

For me, the national team is always first, but the situation in my club wasn't right. I needed to come to the national team with a clear head to give my all, and at that time, I wasn't at my best. I thank everyone for understanding. Luka gave me his support. It was a tough decision for me." 

How was it to watch Croatia play so well against Slovakia?

"I was so happy to see how well we played. We were fantastic. The coach said it was the best game under his leadership. I think we can be even better.” 

Rakitic touched on the two big games ahead against Hungary and Wales. 

"We know the games ahead will be difficult. We lost to Hungary away. But I can't wait for the atmosphere, the fans, the full stadium. If we get 6 points, that is the best-case scenario. But we have to go step by step. First is Hungary."

What does Rakitic think about bringing the national team back to Split? 

"We will give our all. We know that Dalmatia wants the national team here. And we as a national team want to play everywhere.

We know that the people wanted the national team in Split. We could see that with how quickly the stadium sold out. Something extraordinary awaits us on Thursday. We are the World Cup finalists. We are going together for the win." 

What does Rakitic have to say about the media speculation that he didn't want to play for the national team?

"Everyone has their opinion and their right, but no one has a bigger love of playing for Croatia than me. Switzerland gave me everything, but my heart beats for Croatia. I’ve been with the team 12, 13 years. I felt that way yesterday, today, and will feel that way forever. Croatia is number one.”

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

 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Unprecedented Measures in Place for Croatia Qualifier at Poljud

October 8, 2019 - Unprecedented security measures are in place for the European qualifier between Croatia and Hungary at Poljud on Thursday. 

Slobodna Dalmacija announced that seats in the VIP lodge are reserved for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and all ministers - and it looks like Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, will also be coming to Split. But that's not the only reason security is on high alert. 

HNS took over Poljud Stadium on Monday, and until Friday, Poljud is exclusively in the service of the national team, which requires a special regime and security.

Hajduk moved to Brac for the week. This includes not only the first team, but also the offices and services, the entire working community, while the younger teams have been moved to other locations around Dalmatia. 

Hajduk has refused to participate in the organization of the national team match, and according to Croatian media, neither the Hajduk president Marin Brbić nor the vice-president Luksa Jakobusic will attend on Thursday.

Except for one case where the police found 45 tickets purchased by a single person, other such incidents have not been recorded. The Split-Dalmatia County Police Department exclaimed: ”If you do not have a ticket in your name, don't even come to the stadium."

Two to three rings of security have been announced at the stadium, and it is well known that the information on the ticket and ID must match. HNS allowed ticketholders to change the name on their ticket up to 48 hours before the match, but only within their family. Those who are not allowed to enter the stadium have the right to go to the box office and transfer the ticket to their spouse, brother, sister, child, parents, etc. 

Just how meticulous the security will be, remains to be seen.

It has been announced that Victor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, will attend the match with his private arrangement. The police are still awaiting official confirmation as Orban must receive proper treatment - and as much as the PM loves football, the protocol must be respected, and he cannot enter the stadium as a mere spectator. 

The seats in the VIP lodge are reserved for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrei Plenkovic, and all ministers.

Some claim that Split will witness the strongest security of a public event ever in the city. MUP will bring 500 police officers, and as of Wednesday, they will also monitor the city as two thousand Hungarian fans are expected. Police will also patrol all locations around the stadium. The caution has thus been raised to the highest level for this match, which is paid for by HNS. The final bill could reach up to three million kuna.

Police are already overseeing the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Podstrana, where the national team is staying, and will also be monitoring the guests. Nothing will be left to chance.

The field will be monitored from the air, by drones and helicopters, from the sea by warships and from the checkpoints around it. There will also be 500 security guards in the stands and near the pitch. Sokol Maric will lead the security, but other companies have been hired as well. The stands and pitch are monitored with 'sleep’ cameras, which are put into action only when there is activity. 

Split-Dalmatia County police say that everything is going well and that this security is necessary, considering 33,000 spectators and thousands of Hungarian fans are expected. Recall, at the end of May, there were 200 police officers when Croatia visited NK Omis - 150 of them monitoring the city, the hills, and the sea, and only 50 in the stadium.

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

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