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Closed doors return reminder of Croatian football’s ills

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first_img0Shares0000Croatia’s clash with England on Friday will be played behind closed doors after a swastika was marked onto the pitch for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy © AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVICRIJEKA, Croatia, Oct 10 – Croatia’s first fixture back on home soil after reaching the World Cup final should be a homecoming for heroes who defied the odds to carry a nation of just four million to the biggest game in football.Instead, not one fan will be allowed in to see their country’s World Cup semi-final rematch with England at an 8,000 capacity stadium in Rijeka for a Nations League clash on Friday. The hosts are completing a UEFA sanction to play two games behind closed doors after a swastika symbol was carved into the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy in June 2015.“It is not fair because we will play against England, two World Cup semi-finalists, and we must play without fans,” Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic told AFP.“I know UEFA punished us but it is not right to play without fans.“We have to accept it and try to do the best we can from our side.”Just three months on from the highs of Russia, the sight of two of the final four playing a competitive match in front of empty stands is just the latest example of the clash between Croatia’s ability to develop world class players and the structural and cultural problems it faces off the field.The Italy match where the swastika appeared was also held behind closed doors as a punishment for racist chanting against Norway in an earlier qualifier.At Euro 2016 a match with the Czech Republic had to be halted as flares rained down on the pitch from Croatian fans as a protest against their own football association.– Dark side to a fairytale –Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was crowned as FIFA’s player of the year last month for leading his country to the World Cup final © AFP / Ben STANSALL“Croatia is a football phenomenon, a miracle on the field of play, but there are issues to be solved,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.“The key problems in Croatia are hooligan-related incidents that can lead to drastic measures, and relatively poor infrastructure, compared to similar countries.”Yet, even those revered on the field have been embroiled in controversy.FIFA’s recently crowned player of the year Luka Modric was castigated by fans in the build-up to the World Cup for his role in the case that saw former Dinamo Zagreb chief executive Zdravko Mamic, still seen by many as the strongman of Croatian football, sentenced to a six-and-a-half year jail term for corruption and embezzling funds from the transfers of players.Modric was even accused of perjury, but will not face prosecution according to a report last week.That darker side of Croatia’s football fairytale also reared its head in the days after the World Cup final when the players invited a singer known for pro-Nazi sympathies to join them on stage at their welcoming party in Zagreb.Croatia were given a hero’s welcome in a parade on their return to Zagreb after the World Cup © AFP / Andrej ISAKOVICThe joy as 100,000 fans greeted the team back from Russia in July on a open-top bus parade through the capital contrasts sharply with the soullessness of the empty stadium that will greet them on Friday night.Croatia also suffered a hangover on the field against Spain last month to already leave Dalic more focused on Euro 2020 than another attempt at glory in the Nations League.“We lost the first game 6-0 against Spain! We have to improve and play a good game but it is not easy to play against England without fans,” he added.“Our target is the Euro 2020. I know now we have the Nations League but now we are tired and gave everything we had in the World Cup. Now we need time for a fresh start.”A similar reset is needed off the field to let Croatia’s stars shine without being shrouded in controversy.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Glenfin GAA: Liam Breen is named new senior manager

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first_imgLotto winning numbers for the 13/12/2016 are 4-1-7-8-3-5-6-2. Jackpot for the 20/12/2016 is €4900.00The senior board AGM was held in the Club house on Sunday the 18th of December. The following were elected and best of luck to everyone in their roles:Honorary President – John McMahon President – Fr. Lorcan SharkeyChairperson – Paddy DohertyVice Chairperson – James QuinnSecretary – Jackie O’Meara Assistant Secretary – Ann McKennaTreasurer – Sean BonnerAssistant Treasurer – Seamus HerronP.R.O – Seamus WardRegistrar – Kathleen McGlynn Oifegeach na Gaelige – Patricia O’ConnorYouth/School Liaison Officer – Paul McGlynnHealth & Wellbeing Officer – Karen GuthrieChildren’s Officer – Frank Ward County Board Delegate – James Quinn, Paddy Doherty & Sean BonnerNorthern Board Delegate – Brendan Carr & Paul McGlynnSenior Mens Team Manager – Liam BreenReserves Team Manager – Paddy DohertySenior C Team Manager – William McGlynnUnder 21 Team Manager – Frank WardSenior ladies team Manager – Francie MartinSenior Referee – Paddy McKeever & Barry McMonagleGate Persons – Peadar Scanlon, Paddy Foy, Danny O Donnell, William McGlynn, John McKenna & John McGintyUmpires & Lines people – Pat O’Connor – Sean Bonner – Gerry Marley & Michael BonnerThe club thanked Ann McKenna who stepped down as Club Secretary after 16 years of service.Handball training on Mondays from 6.30 -8.00 for children born 2004-2008Underage training for children born in 2009, 2010 and 2011 on Wednesday night from 6.00-7.00Club Gear is available in all sizes. To order contact Kate McGlynn on 0877952880, Sean Bonner on 0872608539, Francie F Marley on 0872414714 or Jackie OMeara on 0871222112.Any club member or manager wanting to put information into the Club notes can do so by sending it to [email protected] or textingGlenfin GAA: Liam Breen is named new senior manager was last modified: December 19th, 2016 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:glenfinlast_img read more