FIFA World Cup boost for struggling Croatian economy

Jun 10, 2014, 11:05 IST | IANS

Walking through the streets of Zagreb, Croatia's capital city, you can sense that the start of the World Cup is just around the corner

Zagreb: Walking through the streets of Zagreb, Croatia's capital city, you can sense that the start of the World Cup is just around the corner. Seeing everybody getting ready you would think that Brazil is Croatia's neighbour and not some country almost 10,000 km away.

For the next three weeks or even more, as the whole nation hopes, Croatian national team and its matches in the World Cup will be the centre of the universe for a lot of Croatians, reports Xinhua.

Croatian footballers will bring smile or tears, sadness or happiness, anger or joy to Croatian people depending how good their performance and results will be. But there is no doubt about one thing: Croatian participation at the World Cup will boost its economy.

Of course, there won't be profit for everybody. The logic is simple: someone has to spend money so that others can benefit.

Spending frenzy started months ago when all kind of companies have started using Croatian football stars in their promotional activities. But, the culmination of that spending spree will be during that one month when the whole world will become one giant football.

Four years ago, when Croatian team did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the estimated loss for Croatian economy was 150 million Euros. That was the reason for some reporters to call for resignation of Slaven Bilic, national coach at that time.

He stayed on and two years later successfully led Croatia through the qualifying campaign for 2012 European Championship. Many Croatians went to Poland and Ukraine who were co-hosts of that European Championship, but those who stayed at home had spent estimated 100 million Euros, mostly on food and drinks.

It won't be any different this time around. Since Brazil is so far away and it's not so cheap and easy to get there, struggling Croatian economy will have even more benefits from this World Cup than it was the case with 2012 European Championship.

It will be hard to find coffee shops, restaurants and bars without big screens on its patios. Football will be everywhere and there will be stream of different drinks, mostly beer.

Eight years ago, when Croatia played in 2006 World Cup in Germany, the seven biggest beer producers in Croatia had around 60 million Euros of income during the tournament. This year that income can only be bigger.

The biggest optimists among economic analysts shared opinion that Croatia's participation at the World Cup could have such a big impact on poor Croatian economy that can significantly lift country's Gross Domestic Product.

In theory, during the World Cup Croatian economy could generate estimated 300 million Euros of income. Of course, the longer Croatian team stays in Brazil, the bigger will be benefits for both small businesses and the biggest players on the market.

For a country where more than 20 percent of people without job that is great news. Even if it turns out that just half of those predictions were accurate, it will still be great news for Croatia. So, even those that do not like football will have enough reasons to scream; 'Idemo, Hrvatska! Let's go Croatia!'

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