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As we continue looking at Croatia this week, today we examine the decaying state of stadia there that reminds some of England twenty years ago, as our Croatian compadre discusses below. Here’s Stadion Maksimir, pictured as Arsenal played NK Dinamo in Zagreb last year.
Croatia (with proposed co-host Hungary) lost the bid for Euro 2012. Considerable and desperately needed renovations of the stadia were planned, but we will see nothing of that now. Renovations at Maksimir started already during president Tudjman. Unfortunately, and typically, most of the massive funds which were assigned ended up in the wrong pockets in a scandal that reached parliament.
Then, Tudjman died and since then, nothing has been resolved. Everybody agrees and knows that something must be done, but the fact that the best way to get a proper national stadium is to tear the existing one down and build a completely new one is a very touchy subject. Where will Dinamo play meanwhile? No national side playing in Zagreb? It’s a site of cultural heritage, the stadium where Croatian independence started with Zvonimir Boban’s defense of a Dinamo supporter, you want to tear that down? These are some of the questions raised by those delaying a decision.