The COVID-19 pandemic had not yet arrived to change our lives when, on a spring afternoon, Mino Raiola, the agent of the world’s most prominent football players, had an idea. Seated at his desk in a modern building in the Principality of Monaco, he said to me, “To keep young people off the streets, to steer them away from negative temptations, we must bring them closer to sports. Why don’t we collaborate to create a multisport field in Serbia?” Almost simultaneously, a WISH arrived at the Embassy from the Croatian National Council, expressing their desire for assistance in realizing a small football field.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
However, the project remained alive in our intentions, even as Mino Raiola, unfortunately, passed away. Mino’s main collaborator, Raffaela Pimenta, informed us that she still intended to bring the project to completion.
In Milan, on November 25th, 2022, a significant Charity Dinner was organized to raise the necessary funds, enabling us to swiftly progress from the idea to the executive project and, consequently, to the final result: not just a “football field,” but a comprehensive multisport facility, as Mino Raiola had envisioned.
In Bac, on Friday, June 9th, in the presence of Tomislav Žigmanov, Minister for Human Rights, Minorities, and Social Dialogue, the President of the Croatian National Council Mrs. Jasna Vojnić, the Diocesan administrator of Subotica bishopry Mons. Ferenc Fazekaš, the secretary of the Diocese of Subotica Mons. Ivica Radak, and the diplomatic staff of the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Belgrade, the inaugural ribbon was ceremoniously cut.
The construction of the multisport field is part of a broader project to build the “Paolo VI” Meeting House in the Catholic Parish of St. Paul in Bač. It is worth noting that this charming town in northern Serbia holds historical significance, as it was once the host to the Knights of St. John (now the Sovereign Order of Malta) in 1234 and they built the first hospital in this part of the world.
In the picture above: From left to right: Diocesan administrator of Subotica bishopry Ferenc Fazekas, Ambassador Alberto di Luca, Serbian Minister for Human Rights, Minorities, and Social Dialogue H.E. Tomislav Žigmanov and President of the Croatian National Council Jasna Vojnić