Croatian First League Foreign Referees Already Next Season?

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Miroslav Lelas/PIXSELL
Miroslav Lelas/PIXSELL

The idea of ​​foreign referees in the Croatian First League (HNL) is gaining more attention. Head of the Croatian Refereeing Commission Bruno Marić confirmed in Croatian media earlier this week that foreign referees in Croatia could become a reality as early as next season. 

“This is still not a topic we want to publish in detail. At HNS, we are working together to conclude business cooperation with some of the foreign federations, which would include the exchange of refs,” Marić told Slobodna Dalmacija. 

And this wouldn’t put any Croatian referees out of work, but rather exchange them.

“It would be exclusively about an exchange, and not about foreign refs coming to ref in our country,” Marić underlined.

Marić was a guest on the same topic on Dnevnik Nova TV, where he emphasized that the idea could be realized as early as next season, because in the current season it is technically impossible.

“We will look for countries with a similar profile. I would not like to speculate now on which refs are in question,” Marić told Dnevnik Nova TV.

As Ivan Forjan has learned for, very serious names in the reffing world are among the options.

Namely, reports that the first picks would definitely be Slovenian judges. Among them is one of UEFA’s elite category refs, Slavko Vinčić. Romanian Ovidiu Hategan, also of elite UEFA status, is too in the spotlight. Along with them, referees from Austria, Hungary, and Israel would also be an option. 

A little over two weeks ago, Osijek coach Nenad Bjelica made his point clear about this topic. 

“Exchanging referees with other countries would also be good because you are taking the pressure off your domestic referees and why not bring quality refs from the countries around us?” Bjelica wondered.

Rijeka also liked this idea:

“The refereeing commission is an independent body and has full confidence in its work. If the refereeing commission evaluates and decides on some changes, as well as the introduction of foreign referees for certain matches, HNK Rijeka will support it. The most important thing is that and at a high level.”

Dinamo, on the other hand, is quite restrained:

“GNK Dinamo welcomes all efforts aimed at the development of Croatian football, and in relation to the specific inquiry, we express our belief that the HNS and the referee commission will know how to make the best decisions.” did not reach Hajduk’s position on this idea yet, though a few years ago, they expressed the desire for foreign refs in the HNL.

Engagements of foreign referees in other European leagues are not uncommon. For example, Ivan Bebek last year refereed the big Greek derby between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos.

Interestingly, a foreign ref would cost as much as a domestic one – or 2,800 kuna per match, with, of course, the addition of travel expenses.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment