Croatian referees boss resigns over ‘severed head’ threat

March 1 – Bruno Marić, the president of the Croatia’s referees commission, has resigned from his position after receiving threats to his personal safety.

A statement from the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) said that Maric left his position due “personal  reasons”. Hours later the president of Croatian FA Marijan Kustić revealed in a television interview that Marić (pictured) and members of his family had received threats.

“The president of the HNS Football Referee Commission, Bruno Marić, resigned from his position and in a conversation with the president of the Croatian Football Association, Marijan Kustić, he stated his personal reasons for making such a decision. President Kustić expressed his understanding of the reasons presented and accepted the resignation, and the Executive Board adopted it,” said the HNS statement.
In the last few days, a storm has broken out around the referees in Croatian football, triggered by published recordings of the referees’ communication with the VAR room in some of the championship matches.

On February 27, Hajduk Split released the full conversations between the referees and the VAR room for the match against Varazdin (1:1).

The Split club later sent a letter to Kustić and Marić demanding an explanation of the VAR communications.

Hajduk complained that their goal had been wrongly disallowed, thus depriving the team of victory.

The next day Maric held a special press conference where he tried to explain the controversial situations in the match. However, he failed to explain the decision of the VAR referees for Hajduk’s disallowed goal.

On Wednesday, Hajduk’s fan group Torcida published a gruesome banner with Marić’s severed head with the tagline ‘no mercy’ and the text: “You are a scandalous cocktail of ignorance, meanness and criminality at all levels. You are a festering ulcer of Croatian football that stinks, no matter how whatever you, with the media henchmen, tried to put on your freaky face. Today, for the umpteenth time, despite all the evidence, you tried to manipulate and deceive the public, but every attempt is in vain because your games strengthen us and create an army that will stand in the defense of Hajduk and its interests. The game is not over, the game has just begun.”

The shocking post was deleted a few hours later, and shortly after the announcement of Marić’s resignation the fans shared another picture, this time with Kustić’s image and the text: “All your shows and parades are in vain, we know very well that fish stinks from the head.”

Contact the writer of this story, Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1711639181labto1711639181ofdlr1711639181owedi1711639181sni@o1711639181fni1711639181