Jan 14 2013

FC Nitra Guarantee Immediate Future

Published by at 7:42 am under Uncategorized

The immediate future of FC Nitra, the Corgoň Liga’s 11th placed club, was secured following an extraordinary meeting on Thursday.Nitra had been fearing for their existence since the resignation of majority shareholders Jiří Magyar and Norbert Bödör in the wake of the punishments handed to the club as a result of the ‘Seydouba Soumah affair’ last September. However, the town authority has stepped in to guarantee finance until the end of the current season.

The local mayor, Jozef Dvonč says that, as a district town,Nitraneeds Corgoň Liga football. For a long time now, the town authority has been renting the Štadión pod Zoborom to the club free of charge, as well as paying its energy costs. Now, it is offering three more forms of assistance. The first is a sum of money sufficient to keep the club operating until the end of the season. Secondly, it intends to work with the Slovak football association (SFZ) on a plan to redevelop the ground. And thirdly, it will help the club in its search for long-term investors.

After the meeting, Jozef Petráni, Nitra’s general manager, expressed relief and gratitude for the help the town is giving. ‘From the start of these problems, we’ve been saying we needed the authority’s assistance,’ he said. ‘They have acted in a responsible way, which is a real declaration of what they feel football means to the town.’ Petráni is one of three new members of theNitraboard, along with sporting director Ivan Ondruška and the town’s vice-mayor  Štefan Štefek. There is also interest in joining the board, and potential new investment, from local businessman Vladimír Vikor.

Ondruška, while admitting that ‘the clouds over the club have lifted’, is conscious that, long-term, Nitra need someone to provide the 50-60% of funds previously accounted for by Magyar and Bödör. ‘That’s definitely not going to be easy in the current climate,’ he says. Meanwhile, Magyar and  Bödör themselves say they welcome the help the town is giving the club, and insist that they too ‘will continue to support it in some way’.

Attention can now be given to playing matters. It remains uncertain who will be coachingNitracome the spring phase of the season. Jozef Vukušič had charge of first-team affairs for the last four games of the autumn, two of which were won, but he is not currently under contract and has had offers to coach inSouth Africa. Petráni is confident, though, that his services can be secured until the end of the season. Meanwhile, the start of winter training is being overseen by youth-team coach Jozef Pavlík.

As for players, Nitra are two strikers light following the recent transfers of Soumah to Slovan Bratislava and Matúš Mikuš to Austrian club FC Admira Wacker Mödling. Reinforcements are clearly needed. ‘We have to build a squad that can ensure we finish 11th at the very worst,’ says Petráni. With a three-point deduction to come into effect at the end of the campaign, that isn’t a straightforward task. Still, bottom side Trnava are being forced into exile by work on their ground, andNitra may also believe that at least one of Prešov, Banská Bystrica or Myjava could be dragged into the relegation struggle. One thing for certain is thatNitra will not be joining the battle as strangers to adversity.

James Baxter

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