April 13, 2020 – Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) President Zlatko Matesa was a guest on Radio Split. In an interview with Marko Milicic, he spoke about possible economic consequences for sports and other economic activities, and also discussed adjusting to the new term of the Olympic Games.
“For all of us, the coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday lives; it has strongly influenced all aspects of Croatian society, including sports. For weeks, nothing has been happening on the sports fields, the athletes are at home, just like other citizens, and they are listening to the recommendations of the National Headquarters. The implications are both related to sports and the economy,” Matesa said in an interview with Croatian Radio.
Last week, the Croatian Government supported measures of the Central State Office for Sport, which will be converted into HRK 40 million for preserving jobs in sports collectives, and umbrella sports organizations are trying to help sports in other ways.
“Through our Office of the European Funds and the Office of the European Olympic Committees, a document has been drafted and proposed to the European Commission and on the basis of which we expect that the so-called SURE program, which also extends to Croatia, can also be used partly for sports. On the other hand, measures taken in the meantime by the Central State Office for Sports, led by Mr. Tomislav Druzak, should at least make it possible for sports to survive in organizational terms, until the competitions can begin again,” said the leader of Croatian sports.
“As for Tokyo and moving the Games to next year, we have no major problems here. Scholarships to all Olympic candidates and coaches are normally paid, and I expect no problem on that side. It is essential that they all be healthy and once they can train again, to prepare for the Olympic Games in the best possible way,” says Matesa.
But the question remains: When will top athletes be able to train again? Has the National Headquarters been contacted? While group training is advised against, top athletes still have to stay fit.
“We have initiated and the Central State Office for Sport has asked the Civil Protection Headquarters to consider the possibility of training certain groups of top athletes who, in their way own way, pose no threat. For example, we do not see a problem with Damir Martin and the Sinkovic brothers rowing or Sandra Perkovic training with her coach. We do not see any particular threat here, as even social distance can be maintained. We will see what the decision of the National Headquarters is and we will act accordingly,” said Matesa.
You can listen to the full interview with Marko Milicic and Zlatko Matesa here.
To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.