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According to Croatian news site Jutarnji.hr, journalists from HRT (Croatian Radio Television) were asked to forfeit their reservations at the Hilton Garden Inn in Eskişehir, Turkey, and asked to leave the hotel.
The Croatian national team is staying at the Hilton Garden Inn ahead of a World Cup qualifying match against Turkey on Tuesday, September 5. The HRT crew and the national football team both arrived in Eskişehir on Sunday afternoon and, upon discovering that they had booked the same hotel, Croatian Football Federation representatives demanded that the television crew find other accommodations and refused to be in the same hotel with them.
Jutarnji.hr reporter Dražen Antolić, who is also covering the match in Turkey, claims that the HRT crew said that CFF representatives gave the hotel an “us or them” ultimatum, saying that “if [the television crew] enters, the national team won’t be staying” at the hotel. Despite having reservations and accommodations paid in full, the television crew sought other accommodation in Eskişehir.
Sports journalists have been criticized by fans and CFF representatives lately for being overly critical of the national team in coverage of matches, but this sort of tension is a first. Croatian media are calling the incident “scandalous.”
Croatia currently tops Group I in the qualifiers, but the team is still irked after having played a very difficult match against Kosovo at Zagreb’s Maksimir Stadium, in pouring rain that left the pitch unplayable 22 minutes into the match. Croatia’s Luka Modric told media that FIFA “showed they don’t care about players” after the match. Tensions still seem to be high on all sides.
Feature image source credit: MarioCRO at German Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons