God may have created man and Zadar basketball (“Bog je stvorija čovika, a Zadar košarku,” goes the team’s motto), but 81 years of tradition and in fact perhaps the birthplace of organized basketball in Croatia are about to meet with a purely manmade force: Economics.
The financial situation in KK Zadar has reportedly become desperate enough to elicit a public appeal from City Hall to local businessmen to bail out the club.
Mayor Zvonimir Vrančić yesterday publicly announced that KK Zadar was nearly 40 million Croatian kunas (approximately €5.5 million/$7.5 million) in debt, that the city was in no position to cover the shortfall, and that dissolution of all club assets – excepting Krešimir Ćosić, which would remain municipal property – was quite a real possibility.
On the plus side, Vrančić also described a plan devised by the Zadar city council for potential investors the help the club. Under the plan, investors would donate between 30,000 and 200,000 kunas (€4,100-€27,500/$5,600-$37,500) for what are essentially shares in the team.
At least one source assets that coach Daniel Jusup and the players have not been paid regularly this season, and no definitive timetable for payment has been set.
Vrančić has reportedly scheduled a meeting between himself, members of national and local chamber of commerce, and various area business interests for this coming Monday.
All in all, it’s quite a comedown for a club not only rife with history, but that was Croatian national champion and Adriatic League final four contestant just two years ago.