ZAGREB, June 16, 2019 – The football teams of the Serb minority in Croatia and Croats in Serbia played a match in Tavankut, near Subotica, in Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina on Saturday, and the match in which the Croat minority’s team defeated the guests 4-1, was organised by the Croat National Council of Serbia (HNV), the Joint Council of Municipalities and the Serb National Council of Croatia (SNV) with the support of the national football federations of Croatia and Serbia.
After the match the leaders of the respective communities, Tomislav Žigmanov and Milorad Pupovac, said that the score was irrelevant, and that it was more important to develop and strengthen the institutional cooperation between these two minorities.
The match took place three years after the two sides played for the first time in Vukovar, when the team representing the Croats from Vojvodina triumphed 4:0.
“We have gathered here to show that we can build bridges, mend communication and develop cooperation. Our experiences are different; however, our aims are the same. Therefore I think that Croatia and Serbia should support our efforts, our institutional cooperation through political and other necessary ways,” said the SDSS party’s leader Pupovac at a news conference in the offices of the local branch of the Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) after the meeting between representatives of the two minorities and the subsequent sporting event.
Žigmanov said that he was “glad to see that despite a relatively long stalemate in the Serbia-Croatia relations, we can hold a meeting at the highest political level on our experiences in efforts to ensure the prosperity of our respective ethnic minorities and on the framework of future cooperation.”
“We have agreed that cooperation must resume and must be firmer institutionally and enriched with contents,” he said and welcomed the envoys of the Serbian President and the Croatian Prime Minister, Sport Minister Vanja Udovičić, and Croatian Ambassador in Belgrade, Gordan Bakota, respectively at the day-long meetings and the match.
The HNV chairwoman Jasna Vojnić, said that the cooperation had been established some time ago but it must be more specific and frequent.
“The HNV is looking forward to this cooperation, and believe that in the future we will see more positive things in both countries,” Vojnić said.
More news about the status of Croats in Serbia can be found in the Politics section.