The president will pay for the trip herself.
With Croatia’s first match in the knock-out phase of the World Cup in Russia fast approaching, many fans are thinking whether to attend the match against Denmark on Sunday or rather watch it on TV from Croatia. As far as leading politicians are concerned, it seems that these important decisions have been made.
According to media reports, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will travel to Nizhny Novgorod this weekend and attend the round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark. She will travel in a personal capacity and pay for the travel expenses herself. Of course, the cost of her security team and others who will accompany her will probably be paid from the state budget.
“The president will travel to the Russian Federation privately as a Croatian national team fan and will bear the costs herself,” said a source from the president’s office.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is known for being a sports fan, often attending matches of Croatian national teams in football and other sports when they take place in Croatia, and sometimes also travelling abroad.
“Football for me is love, football is a pride, football for me means togetherness and patriotism,” said Grabar-Kitarović two years ago when she met with the president of the European Football Association (UEFA) Aleksander Čeferin.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and some of his ministers are getting ready to travel to the World Cup next Thursday, provided of course Croatia plays in the quarterfinals. For that, it will have to defeat Denmark on Sunday.
“The way they play, it is difficult to see where the end of the road for them is”, said Plenković during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Of course, being seen in a company of successful athletes is something all politicians love to do, in the hope that their popularity might positively reflect on their own. This is particularly true for those politicians who are continuously getting less and less popular, as the two Croatian leaders are.