No Zagreb for European Handball Championship? Company Behind Arena Threatens to Lock Doors

Daniela Rogulj

“We will send a letter to the Croatian Handball Federation tomorrow morning stating that the European Handball Championship will unfortunately not be played at the Zagreb Arena if the City and Government do not comply with the obligations,” said Igor Oppenheim, CEO of Ingra, the company that built the largest arena in Croatia.

Ingra is preparing to close the doors of the Zagreb Arena three days before the start of the European Handball Championship due to unsettled bills with Zagreb Holding, the City of Zagreb and the Government of Croatia, reports and 24 Sata on January 9, 2018. 

The European Championship begins on Friday in Split, and Zagreb hosts Group C, where Montenegro, Germany, Macedonia and Slovenia play. The first match is scheduled on Saturday at 17:15 when the Montenegrins and Germans should meet. The second round of the European Championship, up to the final game, is also scheduled in Zagreb. 

All tickets for the matches in the group stage are sold out, and only 500 tickets were left for the semifinals and finals of the tournament, which is also meant to be played at Zagreb Arena – the largest arena in Croatia which opened in December 2008 and is worth around 650 million kuna. 

Ingra argues that the City and the Government, through Zagreb Holding, is months overdue in their rent payment. This relates directly to an additional rental fee of two million euros over the past seven years. While the amount was paid by Zagreb Holding, the Government and City of Zagreb did not verify the bill. The Government is looking for verification because they believe the amount should be much smaller.

“It is necessary that the Government and the City of Zagreb confirm this calculation to submit the reports. However, according to our findings, someone in the government believes that this should cost considerably less, so everything has been sent for verification. And it has been six months since. Learning from previous experience when we were obliged to pay 1.4 million euros after the World Handball Championship that was never paid, we have decided to do this if we do not get a certified report on the calculation or have an agreement to pay that amount to Zagreb Holding to further settle the obligations,” says Oppenheim.

If you recall, Ingra lost 1.4 million kuna in 2009 after the World Handball Championship in Zagreb. This time, they are looking for a verified report on the calculation and call on the City and the Government to take up the amount with Holding. The rent for Arena Zagreb is paid by the Government and the City of Zagreb via Holding.

With such a move just a few days before the start of the European Championship, Ingra wants to force the City and the Government to comply with the obligations. Otherwise, they say, they will send a letter to the Federation tomorrow morning to inform them that the European Handball Tournament will unfortunately not be played at the Zagreb Arena.

An Ingra meeting is underway, so expect more detailed information soon. 

The Croatian Handball Federation does not want to comment on the allegations until they receive an official announcement from Ingra. 

Excerpts taken from and 24 Sata 


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