Disheartened by having to play Champions League matches in a mostly empty stadium, Dinamo Zagreb players have decided to pool their money to fund a lottery in an attempt to get more people to show up to their next Champions League match against PSG. Dinamo only had an official (read: inflated) attendance of 15,000 in the 38,000-seat Stadion Maksimir for its first Group A match against Porto -- part of a trend blamed on expensive tickets and fans boycotting the club's nefarious leadership. So now the players are offering up to one million kunas (€134,000 or $174,000) for a sellout.
From the AFP:
The idea was launched by young midfielder Mateo Kovacic who posted a video, "One Million for a Full Stadium", on his Facebook page, in which he explains the idea to his teammates. [...]
At a press conference on Friday, the players said the amount of the reward would actually depend on the number of fans who will attend the match against PSG on October 24.
One million kunas will be handed out if more than 25,000 fans show up, they said.
For 15,000 fans the reward would amount to some 20,000 euros while for 5,000 fans it drops drastically to some 650 euros.
Five finalists for the prize will be chosen at halftime through a ticket barcode drawing, but there is no plan in place for deciding a winner yet.
It's sad that Dinamo players have to resort to such a measure, but impressive that they care so much about the atmosphere that they are willing to put up their own money to try and improve it. Especially when Dinamo defender Domagoj Vida was fined €100,00 for opening a beer on the team bus just last week. Then again, this could just be a marketing ploy thought up and funded by the club using those massive fines they charge their players.
Here's video of the press conference attended by the entire squad. There are no subtitles, but you can get a sense of the general mood...