Why does Croatia need a national stadium?

After the success of the Croatian team at the Fifa World Cup, a debate has flared up in the country over the construction of a national football stadium. It remains unclear what the project will entail and where the money will come from. But Croatian journalists are already speculating about the motives of those pushing for the new stadium.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

It's a matter of honour

The national stadium should be built to put Croatia on a par with Serbia, Jutarnji list argues:

“This is the chance for a new competition with our neighbour. Because 20 days ago another state announced plans to build a national stadium: Serbia. To make matters worse, their stadium is to be twice as big as the one here and even more expensive. ... Can you imagine the damage to Croatia's national pride if a modern national stadium is built in Belgrade while the successors of Luka Modrić are forced to play in the decrepit Maksimir Stadium? Our team is three times better than theirs, our salaries twice as high and we are EU and Nato members. ... This is not about a national stadium but about our national pride.”

Večernji list (HR) /

A prestige object for politicians

Only the politicians will benefit from a national stadium, Večernji list rails:

“Emotions are being exploited to score cheap political points. ... And then there's the question of money. ... It's not only that someone will have to build the stadium. Someone else will have to be bribed, someone else's pockets will have to be filled, prices will be inflated. Because everyone knows that's the way things have worked in Croatia for years now. It's the politicians who need a national stadium, not us. We're just called on to hand over our money while they let themselves be photographed at our expense.”