A focus on earthquake-stricken areas

FIFA Development Manager Heidi Beha meets with president Kustić during her visit to Croatia


FIFA Development Manager Heidi Beha meets with president Kustić during her visit to Croatia
Photo by: Drago Sopta/HNS

FIFA’s Development Manager for Europe Heidi Beha visited Croatia for a three-day site visit to earthquake-stricken areas.

Beha arrived to Croatia on September 20, and she was welcomed to the head office of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) by president Marijan Kustić and executive director Tomislav Svetina, with whom she discussed HNS's various strategic projects and initiatives. On the same day, she also met with the project leaders of the Croatian FA’s various football-focused projects that are funded through the FIFA Forward Programme.

"At FIFA, we like to put the sporting aspect of football at the center of our development efforts, which is why we’re always happy to invest directly into competitions and matches and to know that our projects are having a direct positive impact on players. We know that the HNS puts a lot of focus on developing football at all levels and on investing in young players, which is why we’re always happy to partner with them on football-related initiatives," said Heidi of the Croatian FA’s projects.

Foto: Drago Sopta/HNS

Foto: Drago Sopta/HNS

The remaining two days of Beha’s stay in Croatia were focused on visiting clubs and county associations whose facilities were heavily damaged during the destructive earthquakes that hit central Croatia in March and December of 2020. She was accompanied by HNS's head of licensing and international affairs Ivančica Sudac and infrastructure manager Andrea Dokuš during her entire stay in Croatia.

As part of her visit to earthquake-stricken areas, Beha visited the stadia of ŠNK Frankopan, HNK Segesta, GSNK Mladost Petrinja, GNK Dinamo, and NK Sesvete, as well as the HNS Multimedia Center and the offices of the Zagreb Football Association and the Sisak-Moslavina County Football Association, where she met with county association president and HNS Executive Committee member Davor Ivić

During the second day of her visit, Heidi also attended the Croatian women’s team’s qualifying match against Italy, which was played in Karlovac.

On the final day of her stay, Beha met with president of the HNS Referee Committee Bruno Marić, who talked her through the successful implementation of VAR in Croatia, which was also funded through the FIFA Forward Programme.

"Seeing all of the damage to football infrastructure, residential buildings, and other facilities in Sisak and Zagreb really drove home the full extent of the destruction caused by the earthquakes in 2020. However, the positive side of visiting all of these football organizations was the fact that we got to meet with so many enthusiastic and highly engaged individuals from smaller and bigger clubs alike. It’s really inspiring to see the effort that they’ve put into persevering in these difficult circumstances and maintaining all of their senior teams and boys’ and girls’ youth teams," said Beha.

HNS president Marijan Kustić thanked Beha for her visit and for her attention to the smaller clubs and organizations that suffered damage to their facilities during the earthquake.

"It’s great to see that FIFA has so much understanding for the challenges faced by clubs and football organizations that have gone through these earthquakes. We know how important football infrastructure is in facilitating the development of Croatian football, and we’re doing everything within our power to help smaller clubs and football organizations in their daily work,” said Kustić.




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