Split Citizens Concerned: Two Weeks Until Ultra Europe, Location Still TBA

Daniela Rogulj

The beginning of the tourist season in Croatia is also the beginning of the festival season, and according to the already established tradition of Ultra Europe in Split, it couldn’t pass without a bit of drama. 

Whether Ultra will be organized this year at Poljud or the new location of Park Mladeži, is still unclear. The decision is expected by the end of the week, if not sooner, though some of Split’s citizens in the Skalice neighborhood have expressed their concerns, reports Splitski Dnevnik on June 26, 2019.

RNK Split’s stadium Park Mladeži is an ever more likely option; however it is not sitting well with residents of the area. 

“I’m genuinely shocked, and I do not believe this really will happen. I still have hope that it will agree on something else. Because our buildings will not endure the event and everything that comes with Ultra,” said Zdravko from Split.

“Of course it is dangerous; the houses themselves are old. I mean, even when there’s a small game, we cannot stay in the house, let alone withstand this. This is madness, I do not know who controls this city; I do not understand it,” said Marija from Split.

Many wonder if Park Mladeži has the capacity for the number of people attending the festival, and on the other hand, how the residents of the surrounding buildings can handle the noise. According to the organizers, an official announcement that will reveal if Ultra will be held at Poljud or Park Mladeži will come sometime this week.

The City of Split is said to be in the process of holding a meeting with the top of the city administration headed by mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, and, among the delegations, Joe Bašić and director of the Public Institution of Sports Facilities Tomislav Borozan. Dalmatinski Portal reports that Ultra was nearly set to be held at Park Mladeži, though the Public Institution was asking for 1.5 million kuna, which the Ultra organizers considered unacceptable.

“The organizers will inform you of the latest news. We are doing everything in our power to maintain this successful festival that has changed the face of tourism not only in our city but Croatia,” said mayor Andro Krstulović Opara.

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

Hajduk often highlighted the destruction of their field after Ultra as one of the biggest problems brought by the festival, which is part of why the two sides couldn’t 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.

“I think that Park Mladeži is not at all suitable for such a big international event. My opinion is that Poljud was created for such events as it promotes our city and the whole of Croatia,” said Suzana from Split.

Maybe the location is still in question, but the festival will go on. Stay tuned. 

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