Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Femme Fatale of Croatian Soccer?

One of the saddest thing about Athens Olympics was the ending. Monday after the Games was a sad day for any true sport fan in Croatia. All of those who appreciate sport have to reconcile with the new prosaic reality in which things like track and field, swimming, cycling, archery, tennis and handball etc. don't exist for average Croatian and most of Croatian media establishment. Instead, the newspaper headlines are going to be exclusively dedicated to soccer or, to be more precise, Croatian soccer league.

And this is really sad, because even the most partisan fans are today ready to admit that Croatian soccer is in decline. The only thing remotely interesting is the eternal rivalry between Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb. Long time ago that rivalry has transcended the pitch and the League itself. The eternal feud between two soccer fan groups became more interesting than the matches, especially today when both teams are struggling to avoid humiliating defeats at the hands of third class opponents.

Media attention has instead shifted towards Torcida and Bad Blue Boys and their gradual escalation of violence. But recently violent impulses within the two groups found new targets – installations, officials and even the players of the clubs such fans were supposed to support. Hajduk was first to experience such phenomenon – training sessions were interrupted and its top officials and managers eventually forced to resign. Dinamo fans took their cue from Torcida and escalated it even further. Following the disappointing match between Inter Zaprešić (Inter Zapresic), couple of top Dinamo players were assaulted by fans, which resulted in injuries.

Some unconfirmed reports tell about BBB plans to sabotage World Cup qualification game between Croatian and Hungarian national team.

Jutarnji list, on the other hand, identifies the source of Dinamo troubles in the form of a woman. According to Zagreb daily, three Dinamo players are romantically involved with the same woman, who is rumoured to be RTL Televizija host. Allegedly she is the reason why those three players can't concentrate on the game and why Zagreb club had such miserable start of the season.


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