Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS to Hold Historic Meeting at Poljud on Monday

Daniela Rogulj

June 23, 2019 – On Monday, June 24, at 10:30 am, a meeting between the City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation will be held at Poljud. The City of Split, as the majority owner, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to attend the meeting, the Split club officially confirmed on Saturday. 

In their recent statement, Hajduk presented their position on relations between the Club and the Federation and consequently where the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be held. 

“On this occasion, HNK Hajduk clearly emphasizes how they firmly stand behind their statement and that their attitude will not change without any concrete changes in the relationship.

The Club is ready to actively participate in the meeting on Monday at Poljud exclusively to talk about the first steps towards more transparent and fairer relations with all clubs, to overcome the problems that have accumulated over the years. Only when these changes occur, or when we are convinced that the HNS leaders have translated their words into concrete actions, HNK Hajduk is ready to take on an active role in the process of organizing one of the next national team games,” Hajduk concluded on their official website

Recall, HNS announced that the Croatia national team would play their next home qualifier for Euro 2020 against Hungary at Poljud, though they failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of the news. As you can imagine, this was considered poor play by the Federation who is allegedly ‘trying’ to mend the relationship with Hajduk and Split. You can read more about that here. 

Whether the game would be played in Split at all seriously came into question as a result of the saga, and Hajduk released a statement rejecting that they were the obstacle standing in the way of it happening at all. 

“We have repeatedly stated that we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud. However, how HNS communicates with the Club and its supporters, the City of Split and its inhabitants, has been the reason why for several years, and especially recently, we have reason to doubt whether the Federation’s decision is sincere and of good intentions. Moreover, the question is whether the Croatian Football Federation is aware of the real mood of the fans in Split and Dalmatia,” Hajduk said. 

About the fans in the region, the club went on to say that the game shouldn’t be forced under these circumstances or organized at all costs, and that the national team does not deserve to be exposed to such division, but an atmosphere of communion and the unity of fans.

“The Croatian national team has not played in Split for too long. From 1998 until now, there were 66 official matches in Croatia, of which only two were played in Split! Of these two, one was played without fans. Therefore, the next national team appearance at Poljud deserves an atmosphere of strong support, without the unresolved problems in Croatian football. The Croatian Football Federation must accept its part of the responsibility for it, and not incorrectly transfer all of the responsibility to HNK Hajduk and the City of Split with the view that ’it is all on them, whether they want the national team in Split or not’.

We can achieve this goal, but only in an atmosphere of mutual respect, reasoned dialogue, and clear and measurable goals for the prosperity of all Croatian football. Croatia is ours and we want it at Poljud.”

You can read the statement in its entirety here

HNK ended by inviting HNS’s executive director Marijan Kustić to a meeting where HNK Hajduk would present their attitudes and intentions.

“Open conversations and an atmosphere of real dialogue have no alternative. They are a prerequisite for solving the accumulated problems.”

A few days after Hajduk’s press release, the Split City Council announced the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud but also expects changes at the root of HNS. 

With 25 votes for (from 26 councilors), the council unanimously decided that Croatia would play against Hungary at Poljud. However, changes at the root of HNS’s relationship with the City of Split and Hajduk was demanded, as is an apology from HNS and a quick agreement from the Federation that all sides would get together as soon as possible.

You can read the City of Split’s statement in full below:

The Split City Council wants the Croatia national football team in our town for the official qualification match against the national team of Hungary at Poljud stadium.

The Split City Council demands from the Croatian Football Federation a rooted change in the current relationship between the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation towards the City of Split and the Croatian football club Hajduk, which is best reflected by the fact that Croatia has only played two official matches in Split in the last 20 years, one of which was played without the public.

Due to the many years of an inappropriate and unacceptable relationship with our city and club, an apology by the Croatian Football Federation is needed as an act of goodwill and a step towards recovering Croatian football and strengthening its communion.

In the interest of Croatian football, we are looking for an agreement at a meeting between the Croatian Football Federation and HNK Hajduk, in the presence of representatives of the City of Split, related to achieving a solution for the numerous deviations and the accumulation of problems that have burdened Croatian football for a long time, as well as an agreement on organizing the desired football match in our city of Split, said the Split City Council.

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