Uplifting news for a club who has been on the brink of survival all season.
Istria 1961 has been rescued! At least temporarily. It seems that the club, which has been on the verge of collapse all season, has avoided being relegated to the Croatian Third League – and maybe even has a chance to stay in the First League, reports Index.hr on May 16, 2018.
Croatian entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest Croatians, Danko Končar, has financially helped to unblock the club’s account and enabled them to receive a license for the next season. Končar, in agreement with the leadership of the club and the City of Pula, found a solution to help Istria until the end of the season – and possibly play in the Croatian First League again. On the eve of the last race in the First League, Istria is equal to Cibalia.
“Istria and Pula have given me a range of business opportunities and personal satisfaction over the past few years. Helping the football club is, therefore, a fulfillment of my moral responsibility, for this region and its people,” Končar said to Index.
The footballers of 1961 will play the last and most important match of the season this week. On Friday, they will face Rudeš where a positive result is their last chance to stay at the top competition. Ahead of the decisive match, the players will also receive their remaining salaries.
Since the beginning of the season, in a challenging financial situation, the club had to let go of many of their first team players, especially in the winter season. The leaders of the club have promised the arrival of new investors from abroad for months, though they never followed through or fell out of favor after they first made contact.
If Končar’s intervention never came, Istra would be thrown into the Croatian Third League West, and the club would probably have been liquidated.