The former president of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), Vlatko Marković, has passed away in Zagreb at the age of 76
Vlatko Marković was born on 1 January 1937 in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and began his football career in his home town in 1955. He signed for NK Dinamo Zagreb as a central defender in 1958, and until 1965 played 104 matches, scoring two goals. He moved to Wiener SK in Austria and finally retired after service with FK Austria Wien. He played 16 matches for the former Yugoslavia, and the highlight of his national-team service was appearing at the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile, where Yugoslavia finished fourth.
His coaching career started in the 1970s, taking in spells with NK Zagreb, R. Standard de Liege, OGC Nice, HNK Hajduk Split, NK Dinamo Zagreb and SK Rapid Wien. Marković won the UEFA European Under-23 Championship with Yugoslavia in 1973, and took charge of the Croatian national team for one game. "When I was a player, I met him for the first time when he was coach at Nice," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "Vlatko Marković had an outstanding career as player, coach and football official, and will always be remembered for this."
In 1994, he became HNS vice-president, and took the helm of the association four years later. During his presidency, Croatia qualified for two World Cups and three UEFA EURO final rounds. He completed three terms as HNS president over 14 years, before stepping down in 2012. For UEFA, Vlatko Marković served as a member of the Technical Development Committee (1996–2004), becoming that body's chairman from 2004 to 2007. He was first vice-chairman of the Football Committee from 2007 to 2009, first vice-chairman of the Development and Technical Assistance Committee from 2009 to 2011, and a coopted member of the latter committee from 2011 to 2013. Latterly, Vlatko Marković was a member of the Amicale des Anciens circle of former UEFA committee members.
"Croatian football has lost one of the best and most important officials in its history. I was honoured to know Vlatko, and to work with him, and it's needless to say how many important things he did for Croatian football," said the current HNS president Davor Šuker in tribute.
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