Janica Kostelić Writes Open Letter on the Situation in Sports

Total Croatia News

The best Croatian athlete of all times, Janica Kostelić, currently the State Secretary for Sport, has written an open letter on the recent incident at the football match in Split, between Hajduk and Rijeka

“Dear fans, admirers of football and sports,

I write this from a perspective of a citizen, regardless of my current function and all my previous successes, as in this case they are less relevant. I will not say irrelevant, only from the perspective that as a public persona, whether I like it or not, everything I say is examined, analysed and commented. Everyone will interpret what someone said or did in their own way, coherent with their beliefs and positions, and deliver conclusions, so I leave it to everyone to interpret this letter accordingly.

The topic of this letter is the event that took place at the premier league match between Hajduk and Rijeka, the so-called Adriatic derby, of which much was expected. When I mention high expectations, then I feel the expectations were misdirected in the beginning. I feel it mostly creates a charge ahead of high-risk matches, where no one wants an incident, but it is enticed, providing space to people who want to push their way around by insulting and degrading ‘opponents’ to present themselves as more worthy and better in someone’s eyes, but I do not know whose. They will certainly not be larger in the eyes of their parents, grandparents in any civilized society.

What is the point of hate speech and why do we allow attention for such people? What is the point of entering a match with a baton to threaten the referee, while a large portion of the fans cheer and approve, providing importance and confirmation that this is something positive, valuable and good.

When talking of sports competitions, specifically of football, shouldn’t we expect ahead of the game ‘that something on the field’ from players? That one move everyone will talk about, that one pass, double pass, lob, even a foul, as this is also sports, something that happens in the fervour of competition, in a sports arena.

I believe things must be pointed out and solved without hate speech, crashing the field, throwing bottles or any form of violence and we must all begin with ourselves, not accusing always someone else.

I do not wish to be a moral vertical, and certainly my life also has many things I should and must do better, but I know that in sports competitions, the struggle and focus should be in the sports arena. Fans should be the ones who, in supporting their team or competitor, provide additional strength and motive to

achieve even better scores and give back to fans for all the passion they selflessly direct toward them. And all this without hate speech, demeaning and physical violence,” wrote Kostelić in her letter.


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