Zadar Declared 2021 European City of Sport by ACES Europe

Daniela Rogulj

July 9, 2020 – The City of Zadar has secured a title that it will proudly wear in 2021 – European City of Sport!

Dalmacija Danas reports that president of ACES Europe, Gian Francesco Lupatelli, informed the mayor of Zadar, Branko Dukic, and the team of the Administrative Department for Culture and Sports, which worked on the candidacy, that Zadar was declared the European City of Sport in its category.

As the reasons for winning the title, with which Zadar will be in the company of several other European cities, President Lupatelli stated:

“Congratulations on the award because your city is an excellent example of a city of sport that serves as an instrument for health, integration, education and mutual respect of citizens, and these are the main goals of ACES Europe! Also, Zadar has developed a sports policy with excellent infrastructure, programs and activities.”

The Mayor and the team of the Board for Culture and Sports, with a presentation and answers to the questions of the commission, successfully presented Zadar in the candidacy process:

“I am extremely pleased that ACES Europe has recognized the social contribution of the City of Zadar to the sports sector,” said Mayor Branko Dukic on the occasion of receiving the title of European City of Sport, which is particularly concentrated on assessing the activities of the City towards sports associations and their communities. However, it also focuses on the associations themselves towards their community, the promotion of sports through fair play, the availability of sports for the widest possible groups of citizens through the pleasure of exercise but also the desire to achieve results, progress and sport as a tool that helps maintain human health.

Dukic stated that in a comprehensive candidacy document, the City of Zadar presented all the components required by ACES Europe – from the review of budget allocations for sports, program goals of the City of Zadar in sports and further plans to a detailed review and description of all associations that the City co-finances with the results and accompanying photos, programs of associations of various profiles – from those in preschool, through school, students, associations of persons with disabilities, and the elderly population. Also, the capacities of the infrastructure in sports with accompanying photos, activities in sports tourism, the connection between the City of Zadar and the Croatian Olympic Committee as well as the scientific community in sports, activities in the field of marketing and communication in sports were presented, and competitions of exceptional importance for Zadar.

The City of Zadar, with its sports infrastructure, recreation and sports programs intended for citizens of all ages, encouragement to play sports, and experience in organizing prestigious international sports competitions, has met the criteria needed for this award, concluded Mayor Dukic. He added that this title will be used in tourist promotion for Zadar to be recognized at the European level as a city that cares about sports through all the noble values that it promotes.

For now, it is known that Lisbon is the European capital of sport in 2021, while other results are still awaited. Zadar made the first online candidacy in the history of this award, which has been awarded since 2001, and was among the first to receive results.

The Mayor and the Board of Culture and Sport were invited to the award ceremony in the European Parliament in Brussels in December 2020.

The event will bring together a number of dignitaries, members of the European Commission, ministers, mayors and various experts in the field of sports. All awarded cities will receive titles and flags for 2021, and a sponsorship agreement will be signed by which Zadar will commit to promoting the title. The award will be an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences with different cities that will be declared sports cities next year, as well as an opportunity to exchange contacts and establish sports cooperation.

From now on, the City of Zadar is in the ACES family, and in 2021, it will carry out numerous activities with the signature of the European City of Sport, all in order to enter the narrower competition or win the title of the best among the selected.

ACES Europe (Association of European Capitals and Cities of Sport) is a Brussels-based non-profit association that awards European Capitals, Cities, Communities and Cities of Sport.

Every year in different categories, about 30-40 European cities receive titles in the categories Capital – City – Town (up to 24,999 inhabitants) – Iceland – Community – (candidacy of more than 3 neighboring cities or municipalities) – Region (as a regional unit) or local self-government. Croatia is a county, provided that at least two cities from that region have previously won a title in one of the ACES Europe categories. In the City ACES Europe category, about 15-20 cities in the City category are expected this year. The category European City of Sport is a category of cities with 25,000 – 499,999 inhabitants, while the European Capital of Sport is a category of cities with 500,000 or more inhabitants, or it is the capital of a European country. In the Capital category, only one city in Europe is chosen each year: Malaga 2020, Lisbon 2021, Den Hague 2022, Glasgow 2023, Genoa 2024 (candidacies for Capital 2025 are underway, and the winner will be announced at the end of 2021).

The video, recorded for the needs of the candidacy, brings the atmosphere of a city that lives for sports and the successes of its athletes, as well as a detailed overview of sports represented in the city with special emphasis on Zadar’s strongest assets and an overview of all sports fields and halls in the city.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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