The city of Zagreb will be getting a new football stadium. Following meetings with the Croatian government and Zagreb city officials, Croatian Football Federation president Davor Šuker revealed the news on Thursday. The site of the new stadium will be the suburb of Blato in Novi Zagreb.
Football fans in Zagreb have long been promised a new stadium. The city's premier football team, Dinamo Zagreb, currently play at Maksimir stadium. Dinamo Zagreb dominate the first Croatian football league year after year, making Croatian league football one of the most predictable and boring leagues within Europe. Yet, less successful Croatian teams such as Hajduk Split and Rijeka each have better stadiums. A new football stadium is also currently being built in Osijek, Slavonia, in the east of Croatia.
Maksimir stadium, current home of Dinamo Zagreb
Despite the Croatian national team's recent success at the 2018 World Cup, Šuker confirmed that the stadium will be a city stadium and not a national stadium. But with Dinamo Zagreb already dominating Croatian league football, some have questioned just how much more financial help the team needs, particularly as the more the team become successful, the more it is to the detriment of the Croatian league. Several commentators have previously suggested that an inter-Balkan or Ex-Yu league be introduced, which would finally give teams like Dinamo Zagreb, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade some serious competition and bring a huge amount of money and interest into regional football. However, it is widely acknowledged that the current behaviour of football fans in the region (and therefore the policing required to facilitate such a league) makes this suggestion impractical.
The new football stadium in Osijek
The new stadium will hold a capacity of 25-30,000. This is relatively small in comparison to the stadiums of well supported European football teams such as Manchester United and Barcelona, whose stadiums hold almost 75, 000 and 100, 000 respectively. It is thought that the new stadium may have the ability to be a multi-purpose venue, available to also be used for rock concerts. Current plans are that Croatia's national side will continue to be without a national stadium home, but will continue to distribute official fixtures around the country's stadiums like Pula, Rijeka and potentially at the new stadiums in Osijek and Zagreb. One of the reasons the suburb of Blato in Zagreb is famous is that it is the site of a huge university hospital project, which citizens paid millions in taxes in order that it be built. The construction was proudly announced, building work began in 1982, but was then abandoned in 1992 and never finished.