Croatia National Team Will Not Gather in March, Euro 2020 Questionable

Daniela Rogulj

March 14, 2020 – With the decision of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) leadership and coach Zlatko Dalic, the Croatia national team will not gather this March, HNS announced on Friday.

“After the planned Doha Friendly Tournament was canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic, where Croatia was scheduled to measure their strength against Switzerland and Portugal, the Federation’s leadership and coach Dalic have agreed that there will be no national team meeting this month in the scheduled representative term.

HNS has informed the clubs of all the invited national team members about this decision.

The decision was made keeping in mind the current situation in Croatia and Europe, that is, the global pandemic of the new coronavirus, to protect the health of the national team. It is the view of the Federation and the expert staff, headed by coach Dalic, that at this moment, it is safest for the representatives to stay in the cities where they reside, in quarantines or under other measures in force in certain countries,” HNS announced on its website. 

The Croatia national team will only gather at the end of May ahead of the European Championships, and it will also be their first gathering after a friendly match against Georgia in November 2019. However, the Euro is under question.

President of the Health Committee of the Croatian Football Federation, prof. dr. sc. Dragan Primorac, was a guest on Dnevnik Nova TV, where he commented on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on Croatian and European football.

Have all the measures taken by leading football organizations been taken on time? Hajduk, Dinamo and Rijeka have stopped training. Should all other clubs follow suit?

“At times when there needs to be a broader responsibility, when we see that the spread of the infection is unstoppable, I welcome this move and the recommendation of the HNS Health Commission is to go in that direction until the situation stabilizes.”

How long can it take?

“Well, you see, most organizations in the world have made a recommendation every two weeks, and after that we will monitor what is happening and make the next decisions.”

HNS has postponed all matches under its jurisdiction, with UEFA only this Friday. Should this have happened earlier?

“Well, look, sure, but it’s not easy for big organizations to make decisions that have a huge impact, both financially and others, but thank God they recognized that the health of the players and the audience are far more important than any interest.”

There were some Europa League games played on Thursday night. How risky is playing those matches?

“Here, when you look at some of the most famous coaches, including Arsenal and their players, contracting the coronavirus, it becomes clear that no one can circumvent this spread. This is one of the strongest messages; it needs to take preventative action rather than cure. And that’s exactly why UEFA made that decision.”

Next week, UEFA decides on possibly postponing the European Championship to 2021. L ‘Equipe wrote that it has already been postponed. 

“It is the responsibility of both UEFA and FIFA. Because if the competition starts and the rapid spread of the virus happens, then you have direct responsibility. UEFA does not want this and no national Federation wants it, I think it is a wise path, and the final decision will be in the coming days. “

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