Monday, 24 June 2019

Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS Meet: National Team WILL Play at Poljud

June 24, 2019 - Hajduk, the City of Split, and HNS held a historic meeting at Poljud to discuss, among a laundry list of items, the Croatia national team’s arrival in Split for the first time since 2015, and just the third time in 20 years. 

The City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation met on Monday at 10:30 at Poljud Stadium in Split. The City, as the majority owner of the stadium, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to the meeting. The central theme was, of course, the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary on October 10, though equally as important was mending the relationship between Hajduk and HNS to better Croatian football for good. 

Eight HNS representatives came to Split, including Executive Director Marijan Kustić, and Vice Presidents Damir Misković and Ante Kulušić. The President of HNS, Davor Šuker, did not attend the meeting. Hajduk’s delegation was led by Marin Brbić and the City of Split by Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara. The police secured the meeting, and in total, 16 people participated.

The meeting did not end until almost 4 pm and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara was the first to address the media. 

“I am very pleased to announce that at today's meeting, HNS was able to agree with many of Hajduk's requests. We want to finally solve the problem of non-communication between HNS and Hajduk in favor of Croatian football and football in southern Croatia. I look forward to hosting the Croatia national football team in Split,” said Andro Krstulović Opara.

“I look forward to continued cooperation. I look forward to the Croatia national team at Poljud.”

Hajduk president Marin Brbić addressed the media next. 

"I'm pleased to say that we finally started communicating with HNS. We will discuss each issue individually. We've always wanted the national team here. Today we felt a hint that something might change. The national team was never disputed, and we will continue to monitor the development of the situation.

We had a good, quality meeting. It will take time to solve each item, but it is important that there is a will and desire. I look forward to the arrival of Hungary in Split in cooperation with the City, and we will work to include Hajduk.”

Hajduk will not participate in the organization of the match, and will join the moment problems begin to resolve, Brbić added.

Recall, Hajduk said on Saturday that “without any concrete changes in relations with HNS, they will not change their attitude" and will not participate in the organization of the match.

The City of Split, as the majority owner of the stadium, unanimously voted at last week's City Council session to host the match in Split, but with a preliminary apology from the top of HNS.

The HNS Executive Committee at its session on June 12 decided that the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be played at Poljud, but failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of their decision, which questioned the game happening in Split at all.

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

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS to Hold Historic Meeting at Poljud on Monday

June 23, 2019 - On Monday, June 24, at 10:30 am, a meeting between the City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation will be held at Poljud. The City of Split, as the majority owner, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to attend the meeting, the Split club officially confirmed on Saturday. 

In their recent statement, Hajduk presented their position on relations between the Club and the Federation and consequently where the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be held. 

“On this occasion, HNK Hajduk clearly emphasizes how they firmly stand behind their statement and that their attitude will not change without any concrete changes in the relationship.

The Club is ready to actively participate in the meeting on Monday at Poljud exclusively to talk about the first steps towards more transparent and fairer relations with all clubs, to overcome the problems that have accumulated over the years. Only when these changes occur, or when we are convinced that the HNS leaders have translated their words into concrete actions, HNK Hajduk is ready to take on an active role in the process of organizing one of the next national team games,” Hajduk concluded on their official website

Recall, HNS announced that the Croatia national team would play their next home qualifier for Euro 2020 against Hungary at Poljud, though they failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of the news. As you can imagine, this was considered poor play by the Federation who is allegedly ‘trying’ to mend the relationship with Hajduk and Split. You can read more about that here. 

Whether the game would be played in Split at all seriously came into question as a result of the saga, and Hajduk released a statement rejecting that they were the obstacle standing in the way of it happening at all. 

“We have repeatedly stated that we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud. However, how HNS communicates with the Club and its supporters, the City of Split and its inhabitants, has been the reason why for several years, and especially recently, we have reason to doubt whether the Federation’s decision is sincere and of good intentions. Moreover, the question is whether the Croatian Football Federation is aware of the real mood of the fans in Split and Dalmatia,” Hajduk said. 

About the fans in the region, the club went on to say that the game shouldn’t be forced under these circumstances or organized at all costs, and that the national team does not deserve to be exposed to such division, but an atmosphere of communion and the unity of fans.

“The Croatian national team has not played in Split for too long. From 1998 until now, there were 66 official matches in Croatia, of which only two were played in Split! Of these two, one was played without fans. Therefore, the next national team appearance at Poljud deserves an atmosphere of strong support, without the unresolved problems in Croatian football. The Croatian Football Federation must accept its part of the responsibility for it, and not incorrectly transfer all of the responsibility to HNK Hajduk and the City of Split with the view that ’it is all on them, whether they want the national team in Split or not’.

We can achieve this goal, but only in an atmosphere of mutual respect, reasoned dialogue, and clear and measurable goals for the prosperity of all Croatian football. Croatia is ours and we want it at Poljud."

You can read the statement in its entirety here

HNK ended by inviting HNS's executive director Marijan Kustić to a meeting where HNK Hajduk would present their attitudes and intentions.

“Open conversations and an atmosphere of real dialogue have no alternative. They are a prerequisite for solving the accumulated problems.”

A few days after Hajduk’s press release, the Split City Council announced the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud but also expects changes at the root of HNS. 

With 25 votes for (from 26 councilors), the council unanimously decided that Croatia would play against Hungary at Poljud. However, changes at the root of HNS's relationship with the City of Split and Hajduk was demanded, as is an apology from HNS and a quick agreement from the Federation that all sides would get together as soon as possible.

You can read the City of Split’s statement in full below:

The Split City Council wants the Croatia national football team in our town for the official qualification match against the national team of Hungary at Poljud stadium.

The Split City Council demands from the Croatian Football Federation a rooted change in the current relationship between the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation towards the City of Split and the Croatian football club Hajduk, which is best reflected by the fact that Croatia has only played two official matches in Split in the last 20 years, one of which was played without the public.

Due to the many years of an inappropriate and unacceptable relationship with our city and club, an apology by the Croatian Football Federation is needed as an act of goodwill and a step towards recovering Croatian football and strengthening its communion.

In the interest of Croatian football, we are looking for an agreement at a meeting between the Croatian Football Federation and HNK Hajduk, in the presence of representatives of the City of Split, related to achieving a solution for the numerous deviations and the accumulation of problems that have burdened Croatian football for a long time, as well as an agreement on organizing the desired football match in our city of Split, said the Split City Council.

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

City of Split Votes for Croatia National Team at Poljud, Asks for Apology from HNS

The Split City Council announced the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud but also expects changes at the root of HNS.

It was a marathon session of the Split City Council, where the decision of whether the Croatia national team would play against Hungary at Poljud was finally revealed around 8 pm on Wednesday, reports Gol.hr on June 19, 2019. 

With 25 votes for (from 26 councilors), the council unanimously decided that Croatia would play against Hungary at Poljud.

However, changes at the root of HNS's relationship with the City of Split and Hajduk was demanded, as is an apology from HNS and a quick agreement from the Federation that all sides would get together as soon as possible.

You can read the City of Split’s statement in full below:

The Split City Council wants the Croatia national football team in our town for the official qualification match against the national team of Hungary at Poljud stadium.

The Split City Council demands from the Croatian Football Federation a rooted change in the current relationship between the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation towards the City of Split and the Croatian football club Hajduk, which is best reflected by the fact that Croatia has only played two official matches in Split in the last 20 years, one of which was played without the public.

Due to the many years of an inappropriate and unacceptable relationship with our city and club, an apology by the Croatian Football Federation is needed as an act of goodwill and a step towards recovering Croatian football and strengthening its communion.

In the interest of Croatian football, we are looking for an agreement at a meeting between the Croatian Football Federation and HNK Hajduk, in the presence of representatives of the City of Split, related to achieving a solution for the numerous deviations and the accumulation of problems that have burdened Croatian football for a long time, as well as an agreement on organizing the desired football match in our city of Split, said the Split City Council.

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

Friday, 14 June 2019

Negotiations with Hajduk at Standstill: Is Ultra Europe Moving to Park Mladeži?

The drama between Ultra Europe and Hajduk continues, as negations remain at a dead end. Radio Split reported on Friday morning that the Ultra Europe festival would be held at the RNK Split stadium, also known as Park Mladeži, instead of the current location at Poljud stadium, Slobodna Dalmacija announced on June 14, 2019. 

Since no agreement has been signed between Ultra and Hajduk, the festival organizers have allegedly turned to alternative solutions, and Park Mladeži was the first location that came to mind. 

As Radio Split reported, the negotiations between representatives of Ultra and Javne ustanova športski objekti Split (Public Institution Sports Facilities Split) have begun, though the City of Split still does not want to confirm this information, and all inquiries from the media remain unanswered.

RNK Split, the concessionaire of Park Mladeži, was also unable to provide any official information on where the Ultra Europe festival would be held this year. Allegedly, all official reports on the state of Ultra Europe will be released at the beginning of next week.

“We've been working intensely over the last few weeks. I believe we will have quality information next week. We are looking for a win-win situation in which everyone will be satisfied; Hajduk and the interest of sport, then the development of tourism and the further stimulation of Ultra, which we know will stay here for a few more years, as well as the many tourists, which we expect this year too and we will host,” said the mayor of Split Andro Krstulović Opara on Thursday. 

Recall, Hajduk has highlighted the destruction of their field after Ultra as one of the biggest problems brought by the festival, which is part of why the sides have been unable to agree. 

Hajduk was looking for Ultra to cover all the costs incurred by the club for holding the festival, and above all to financially cover and secure a new field in time as to not repeat, for example, last year’s catastrophe when the lawn was not brought in on time. 

For every unplayed European match at Poljud, Hajduk is forced to relocate (to the significantly smaller stadium capacity in Dugopolje), leaving them with estimated losses of around 1.5 to 2 million kuna, while the price of the new field is between 1.6 and 2.2 million kuna.

And it's already too late to buy and deliver a new field if you're looking to have it installed right after Ultra...

Stay tuned. 

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

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Will Croatia National Team Play in Split? Latest Between HNS and Hajduk

The Croatia Football Federation announced on Wednesday that the Croatia national team would play the next Euro 2020 home qualifier against Hungary on October 10, 2019, at Poljud stadium in Split. The call was made after a unanimous decision by the HNS Executive Board.

Thus, after Croatia defeated Wales in Osijek and plays their next qualifiers in Slovakia and Azerbaijan in September, in October, the national team will return to Split after four years.

While this all seems fine and dandy and is precisely what Hajduk and the City of Split were hoping for in the end (give or take), one precious detail was left out - HNS failed to inform Hajduk and the City of Split of their final decision, leaving them to find out thanks to the slew of Croatian media reports on Wednesday. 

With a long tradition of tension already established between HNS and Hajduk and a relationship that blows hot and cold, you can imagine this wasn’t easy to swallow for the Split club. 

Namely, after announcements of the game in Split, Hajduk revealed on their official Facebook page that they learned of the Federation's decision thanks to the media.

"We did not receive any official information on this news, we learned about it from the media."

And then everyone started talking. 

Hajduk President Marin Brbić called this decision imprudent and assessed that it was an expression of disrespect towards Hajduk. 

“As a rule, the decision on who will host the national team should be a matter of agreement between the Federation as an organizer and Hajduk as a host (regardless of the fact that the formal host may be the City of Split as the stadium owner). For the first time, such a decision was made without any agreement with the club or, as far as it is known, the host city.

The fact is that the wider public is divided about the Federation’s relationship with Hajduk, and making a one-sided decision shows thoughtlessness, disrespect, and potent antagonism. Building an atmosphere of renewed confidence and creating preconditions for better and quality relations is in favor of all players of Croatian football, while making one-sided decisions makes it impossible and counterproductive because it discredits those people who are ready to talk and negotiate, and gives the right to those who are solely for the conflict. It is obvious that this is an assessment of the people in the Federation who think this is a good time to emphasize existing tensions.

Looking ahead, the Federation’s concrete measures that will shape the future of Croatian football will show whether this hasty one-sided decision was made under pressure from the term expiring to determine the host, or as the result of their poor assessment.

If this decision was made separately from topics that were or should only be the subject of talks and negotiations on the future of Croatian football and the fair and transparent relationship, for which Hajduk is very interested in, in that case, HNS assumes the sole responsibility for the organization of the match,” said Brbić.

The City of Split also confirmed they were not informed of this decision.

“The City of Split did not receive any official information on the decision of the Croatian Football Federation to hold the match between Croatia and Hungary at Poljud.

Since the meeting held in late April, which included the mayor, Hajduk president Marin Brbić and the president of the Supervisory Board, Benjamin Perasović, neither the mayor nor anyone in the city administration had any contact with the heads of HNS."

Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara also commented on the matter on Thursday, reports Dalmatinski Portal

“Very surprising, even though it does not surprise me when such decisions are made by Šuker and Society. I have spent my life in diplomacy and administration and other bodies, I have been in numerous talks and negotiations, and to realize common goals, it is necessary to speak frankly.

It will still be held,” he continued. 

While HNS has not officially come out to comment on the matter, Index.hr was able to reach HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustić.

"In December 2018, Hajduk said they were interested in one of two matches, Slovakia or Hungary, and we made a unanimous decision that we would like to play the game, of course, in Split,” Kustić said, adding:

"The statement signed by HNK Hajduk and President Huljaj stands and we have accordingly decided to play in Split.

The leaders of Hajduk, the City of Split and HNS met in Zagreb in late April and this was a step towards improving relations, and now everything is in Split. They will soon respond if they want the match. We spoke about the relations between Hajduk and the Croatian Football Federation and I think that we should not make any ultimatums when it comes to the Croatia national team itself,” said Kustić. Recall, Hajduk sent a list of requests to HNS back in December last year when the two sides first discussed Split hosting a Euro qualifier. 

Kustić also spoke to Sportske Novosti on Wednesday evening.

“The Executive Committee unanimously accepted the candidacy of Split and Poljud to host the match against Hungary on October 10th. So, the candidacy exists and was signed by then-President Hajduk Jasmin Huljaj on December 7 last year. On this occasion, Hajduk also competed for the match against Slovakia in November.

We received requests from Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, and Osijek, but we chose Split. A few days ago, we were extremely well received in Split and Omiš, and the coach and players expressed the desire to welcome Hungary at Poljud, and the Executive Board accepted it.”

Has HNS already confirmed Split as a host to UEFA?

“We did not, because the next step is to talk to representatives of the City of Split and Hajduk. They were a candidate, we chose them, and now we have to arrange details about the organization of the match. I expect that we will in the next few days.”

Judging by the reaction from Poljud and the City of Split, they might refuse to host the game at all.

“I do not want to prejudge anything. After we decided on Poljud, we immediately received hundreds of ticket requests, as well as many congratulations. Everyone in the Federation wants Poljud, and the players want it as well as thousands of fans from Split and Dalmatia,” concluded Kustić.

So, what will happen next? Stay tuned.

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

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

It's Official: Euro 2020 Qualifier Between Croatia and Hungary in Split!

Jun 12, 2019 - The Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation unanimously decided that the European qualifier to be played in Croatia this October between Croatia and Hungary would be played in Split, announced HNS.

After defeating Wales in Osijek, the 2018 World Cup finalists will play away against Slovakia and Azerbaijan in September before hosting Hungary at Poljud Stadium in Split on October 10. The game will begin at 20:45.

That decision was made unanimously by the HNS Executive Board and UEFA will report Split as the host for one of the crucial EURO 2020 qualifying rounds.

Recall, the Croatia national team had not played in Split since 2015 when a swastika was drawn onto the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier at Poljud against Italy. 

Hajduk, on the other hand, said they were not informed by HNS of the decision.

"We did not receive any official information on this news, we learned about it from the media."

Coach Zlatko Dalić has been very vocal about returning the national team to Split and was especially adamant last month after receiving the Split City Award for 2018 at the Croatian National Theater.

“For me, this is a huge acknowledgment that I am very proud of,” said Dalić and explained:

"I spent a part of youth in Split, in moments when I was building myself up as a person, Split supported me and I am grateful to Split. Thanks to the people in Hajduk, thank you to the people at the Technical School who helped me become a man of my own, with all the blemishes and virtues.”

When asked about the potential arrival of the national team to Poljud then, Dalić said: 

“The Croatia national team is a representative of all Croats. And I always say, I need to play in Dubrovnik, Osijek, Split, Vukovar. All over Croatia. Specifically speaking, I want to play in Split. 

I am doing everything I can, everything in my power to do this. More than I can say,” he concluded.

After Croatia became World Cup finalists last summer, the national team players from Split were not shy about voicing their opinion on the matter, either. You might remember that at the welcome celebration after the team returned from Russia, Filip Bradarić promised the crowd of thousands on the Riva stage that the national team would play at Poljud again this year. 

More soon...

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

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

With Just Over a Month to Go, Hajduk and Ultra Europe Still Negotiating?

Ultra Europe is set to take place in Split from July 12 to 14, 2019, however, Hajduk and Ultra are still without an agreement, and allegedly, a contract has yet to be signed, according to Slobodna Dalmacija on June 3, 2019. 

The Split football club and the leadership of one of Europe's largest music spectacles have apparently not found common ground in the latest round of negotiations, and Hajduk-Ultra talks so far have not been fruitful.

Namely, Hajduk is justifiably afraid of the aftermath of the music festival and how it has devastated the Poljud football pitch over the years. Hajduk does have reason to worry, because Ultra conflicts with the beginning of the season when European games are played and the Croatian First League begins. 

Thus, the club is looking for a guarantee that this will not happen again, and that above all, Hajduk has a functioning pitch on time and one that is suitable to host European clubs.

And, after years of experience, putting in a new pitch is the only guarantee that it will be at an adequate level after the festival.

Unfortunately, both sides are not on the same wavelength - and it's already too late to discuss changing the pitch now. Namely, if the other party agrees to replace the pitch, all the deadlines have already been exhausted. Recall, there are only 40 days left until the beginning of Ultra, and a lot that goes into implementing a new lawn, i.e., grass needs to be ordered, delivered, etc. 

Considering Hajduk’s first round of Europa League will be played from July 11 to 18, 2019, the club could potentially move the game to Dugopolje, which is some 30 minutes away from Split. The downside, however, is that the stadium holds considerably fewer fans, which would result in fewer tickets sales and, well, a loss of the atmosphere in general.

So, what will happen next? Stay tuned. 

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

Friday, 17 May 2019

Ultra Europe Announces 15 New Artists Coming to Split this Summer

We’re just two months away from the start of the most anticipated event in the summer season, and with that comes even more great news. Namely, Ultra Europe, which will take place from July 12 to 14 in Split, has announced 15 new performers for the seventh edition of the festival. Thus, festival goers can enjoy Cheat Codes, Steve Aoki, Nicky Romero, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Gud Vibrations, Tchami X Mala, Rezz, Lost Kings and Jeffrey Sutorious. 

This year's edition is the most expensive festival lineup in history, and with the arrival of the mega Swedish House Mafia, Ultra Europe will surely mark the 2019 summer season all over Europe. 

It's almost impossible to turn on the radio without hearing a tune by Cheat Codes, a trio from Los Angeles, featuring Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell and Kevin Ford. The group released the song ‘Sex’ in 2016, and the single ‘No Promises’ from 2017, collaborating with American pop star Demi Lovato, reached the top of the charts in the US, UK, and Australia. The group will play their many hits, and especially their currently single ‘Who's Got Your Love’. Another star arrives from Los Angeles, Steve Aoki, who needs no special introduction. This energetic, eccentric, and always entertaining DJ is ready for two crazy hours on the biggest dance floor in Split.

The first lady to play on the grand stage is Rezz, a DJ by the real name Isabelle Rezazadeh. Her debut album 'Insurrection', which was released in 2015, is the next in line to sign a contract with the Deadmau5 'Mau5trap' publishing house. Her second album, 'Mass Manipulation', won the Juno Award for Best Electronic Album in 2018. Rezz is playing at all major world festivals, and this summer will premiere to the Croatian audience. The name Jeffrey Sotorious is already a well-known name on the international EDM scene. He is a performer who has acted under the name Dash Berlin for years, and at the seventh edition of the festival, this talented Dutchman will perform for the first time on his own.

Dutch DJ Nicky Romero is known for his hit ‘Tolouse’, which has almost half a billion views on YouTube, and 'Legacy', 'Symphonica' and 'I Could Be The One', which is a collaboration with Avicii. He cooperated with stars such as Zedd, David Guetta and Calvin Harris, Rihanna and Britney Spears. Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, two more famous Dutchmen, return to Ultra Europe to the joy of many fans. This attractive duo is known for joining elements of house, tribal, techno, electro and Latino rhythms into contagious hits. They recently released the single ‘Shameless’, though we can’t forget the hit ‘You Are’, a collaboration with Armin van Buuren, Badman, Born Again and many others.

There are even more names to perform on the attractive RESTISTANCE stage, a tech, house and underground concept that has attracted more and more fans in recent years around the world. Split will host some of the most prestigious techno performers in electronic music such as Nic Fanciulli, Patrice Baumel, Dubfire and Jon Rundell. DJ and producer Sasha is coming to Poljud, best known for his live performances and collaboration with British DJ John Digweed, with which he acts under the name Sasha & John Digweed. In 2000, he was chosen as the best DJ in the world, and is known for his heavier rhythms. The Art Department is another exciting name on this year's line-up. The Canadian musicians Jonny Whitenapor and Kenny Glasgow have teamed up to become one of the electronic success stories of the world. The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Vogue, ID, Nylon, and Vibe Magazine have written about this duo as a phenomenon that can stand beside Daft Punk.

Ultra Europe in Split will bring the already announced Above & Beyond, Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, The Chainsmokers, David Guetta, DJ Snake, Jamie Jones, Joseph Capriati, Maceo Plex, Marco Carola, Richie Hawtin, and Swedish House Mafia.

Furthermore, this year’s Ultra Beach in the Amphora Hvar Grand Beach Resort on the island of Hvar will feature the most vibrant and world-renowned Martin Solveig and Jax Jones. The second name on the list is the British duo Sigma, and the names of other performers will be known by the end of May.

Just two days ago, the lineup of the Brač Regatta parties was announced! This island party will feature the popular trio Cheat Codes, as well as the biggest domestic DJ star - the Croatian-Slovenian duo Vanillaz, who will soon appear on the main stage of Ultra Singapore and Ultra Korea.

The Ultra Europe Festival offers electronic music lovers a comprehensive experience of the destination, and this year the entire festival experience will be even better thanks to the festival's partners, including the Croatian National Tourist Board. You can find more information and tickets on the official Ultra Europe website.

DESTINATION ULTRA 2019 

11. July - RESISTANCE Opening Party / Giraffe Palm Beach House, Split

12.- 14. July - ULTRA Europe / Poljud, Split

15. July – Regatta Party / 585 Club, Bol, Brač

16. July - ULTRA Beach Hvar / Hotel Amfora Grand Beach Resort, Hvar

16. July - RESISTANCE Hvar, Carpe Diem Beach Club

17. July - RESISTANCE Vis Closing Party / Fort George, Vis

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

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

HNS Executive Director Reveals His Side of Meeting with Hajduk

“Taking a step towards overcoming disagreements.” Thus, in one sentence, the meeting was presented - a sort of détente on the relationship between HNS and Hajduk. 

On the premises of HNS, on the 11th floor of the Green Gold Tower in Zagreb, representatives of the Split Club (attended by the head of the Administration Marin Brbić, and president of the Supervisory Board Benjamin Perasović) visited HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustić a few weeks back. You can read Hajduk's description of the meeting here.

Today, however, Slobodna Dalmacija conducted an interview with Kustić about his details on May 14, 2019. 

“I thank the leaders of Hajduk that have come to HNS and expressed their readiness to resolve all disputes and misunderstandings through dialogue. Our conversation was based primarily on building new relationships with honesty. We discussed the conversation in three points: we discussed reforms, development plans of HNS and, of course, the qualification match against Hungary in Split,” said Kustić.

Does asking for "wholehearted commitment to change and reform" insist on removing Damir Vrbanović and Bruno Marić from influential duties in HNS and re-establishing the Association of First League Clubs?

“We did not talk at these levels. Reform is not the move of a single man. It is a process that is felt in all the work of the Federation. The fact that since my arrival at HNS, seventy new people are involved in various commissions, as the auxiliary bodies of the Executive Committee, clearly indicate a new way of the Federation. I think that's what the people of Hajduk accepted."

How real is restoring the Association of First League Clubs?

“The Association of First League Clubs was abolished by the clubs themselves. They can also renew it again. HNS does not want to interfere with club relationships. The Federation can only initiate a meeting on that topic.”

Hajduk already announced specific demands, "the seven sacraments," which they consider necessary to establish "diplomatic relations" with HNS.

“There was no talk of this at the meeting. We talked about the points I mentioned. I do not know what we will discuss at the second meeting, which should take place in Split at the end of this month, but my impression is that there is a sincere will on both sides to overcome all misunderstandings.”

Will the Euro 2020 qualifying match between Croatia and Hungary on October 10, 2019, take place in Split?

“I am very optimistic about the realization of that idea. We also organized a training match of the Croatia national team in Omiš, as a kind of return of the national team in Dalmatia.”

The Split mayor Andro Krstulović Opara also attended the HNS and Hajduk meeting. His presence, as well as the statements of state leaders, suggest that bringing the national team back to Poljud is a political issue.

"I would not say that the game in Split against Hungary is a political question. The national team playing in the second largest city in Croatia is primarily a sporting interest. I think all people in Croatia want the football team to play in Split as well. Sport is an essential segment of society because it connects and unites people.

The fact that the meeting was attended by Split mayor Andro Krstulović Opara is quite logical. The city of Split is the majority owner of Hajduk and Poljud. It is therefore quite understandable that it would be involved and take part in solving all the problems. You do not have to worry about the help of politics when you mention problems. All help should be accepted, which will enable us to make the sport better and at a higher qualitative level.”

However, building a national stadium is certainly a political issue. At what stage of the realization is the trilateral agreement between the government, the City of Zagreb and HNS regarding the "Blato project"? Recall, after the HNS Assembly, president Davor Šuker announced the idea of building a stadium in Zagreb in Blato, behind the unfinished University hospital.

“I don’t want to talk about the national stadium. This creates distress in people. HNS's primary intentions are to represent the national team across the country, where conditions exist for that. Preferably, in modern stadiums. Therefore, HNS will support every initiative to improve infrastructure and support the construction of stadiums in Rijeka and Osijek, and renewing Poljud.

There is a problem around the stadium in Zagreb. I think Dinamo and the capital of the Republic of Croatia deserve an adequate stadium. President Šuker made a statement about the project as he is directly involved in it. If there is any news related to this project, HNS will certainly release it to the Croatian public.”

Should HNS ever build a national stadium when clubs (like Istria, Rijeka, Osijek, Dinamo...) have their own individual projects?

“The National Football Federation is not a construction company and will not build stadiums but will support any investment in infrastructure. Last year, the Federation invested in reconstructing First-League pitches, which proved to be an excellent project. Football in HNL today is much better than before.”

HNS leaders have been discussing the need for a stadium for twenty years. The last great stadium in Croatia was built forty years ago in Split for the needs of the Mediterranean Games. But when the Chinese Z-RUN consortium appeared and offered a sports complex worth 150 million euros, HNS showed no interest. Why?

“The Chinese entered business with Velika Gorica. So far, only a memorandum of cooperation has been signed. The realization of the project is a long time away. Time will show what will happen. HNS has nothing against this project. Anyway, we would love to do it. Finally, the memorandum was signed by the Football Federation of the County of Zagreb, and they are a member of HNS.”

TCN has translated excerpts from Slobodna Dalmacija, but you can read the full interview with Marijan Kustić on Slobodna Dalmacija here

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

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Hajduk and HNS Meet: Details Revealed

On Monday, Marijan Kustić, the executive director of HNS, met with representatives of Hajduk and the Split mayor in Zagreb. 

Page 8 of 20

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