December 9, 2020 – Building a Croatia national team stadium is back on the table. Representatives of HNS, the City of Zagreb, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport weigh in on what’s next.
Index.hr reports that on HRT’s show Otvoreno on Tuesday evening, the topic was constructing a Croatia national stadium.
The guests of the show were the executive director of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) Marijan Kustić, former footballer and president of the football union Dario Šimić, state secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Tomislav Družak, director of the Institute for Physical Planning of the City of Zagreb Ivica Rovis and HRT sports commentator Stjepan Balog.
For footballers, the issue of the national stadium has become offensive
Dario Šimić was the most specific about the construction of the new stadium.
“I’m worried that we are repeating ourselves. We have to wait a long time for the paperwork; it takes two to three years before the construction itself. We can realistically expect that stadium in 2030. We are doing the show, we have done it before, but this issue of the national stadium has already become offensive for us footballers,” said Šimić, after which Marijan Kustić took the floor.
Funding football infrastructure is not the job of the Federation
“I would like Dinamo representatives to be here with us. They are mostly in that part of the agreement with the City. I hope it won’t take us nine years to build a stadium. People are upset that we are talking about a national stadium. We are talking about the stadium in Zagreb, and the people from Dinamo were supposed to be here. The plan should go ahead as soon as possible. I think that something bad needs to happen at Maksimir stadium to start something,” Kustić explained and continued.
“In the last few years, we have invested over 70 million kuna in stadiums through the HNS Executive Board, which should be the duty of clubs and cities. That is why we are constantly initiating investment in infrastructure. This is not the Federation’s job, and I do not see which federation in Croatia and Europe invests so much in sports infrastructure. Dario Simic said it well; a man shudders when he sees what kind of stadium we have in Zagreb.”
If the decision is not made immediately, nothing will be initiated
Šimić replied to Kustić.
“The society and the 1,500 clubs in Croatia deserve better infrastructure. If we don’t start now and make a decision right away, nothing will start. Everything else is frustrating and sad.”
State Secretary Tomislav Družak also joined the discussion
“A meeting of HNS, the City of Zagreb and Dinamo was organized two months ago. The Ministry of Tourism and Sport is initiating the construction of the stadium. We will not be financiers; we can participate in projects and give ideas, which can be the way. If the City wants to build a stadium, it has to find a model in which Dinamo will participate. They need to be asked something. Croatia needs a multifunctional and self-sustaining stadium that will not take taxpayers’ money,” Družak said.
In the end, host Damir Smrtić asked Marijan Kustić if HNS would implement a hybrid lawn at Poljud.
“A letter was sent to Hajduk today. Next Tuesday is a meeting with Hajduk regarding the construction of a hybrid pitch,” Kustić concluded.
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