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Stimac Leaves

Charlie Mills  Saturday, July 14, 2001  21:14 GMT

Glenn Roeder has allowed Croatian defender Igor Stimac to leave Upton Park on compassionate grounds without demanding a fee. Stimac's youngest daughter Dea suffers badly from asthma, and endured problems while living in London. However, since arriving back in Croatia for a holiday this summer, her condition has improved, persuading the 33-year-old that he should move his family back home and continue his career with Hajduk Split, the club that gave him his break in football. Igor, who joined the Hammers from Derby County for £600,000 in September 1999, expressed his sadness at having to leave the Hammers saying: "I am still in Croatia at the moment and I have decided to stay here and join up with my former club, Hajduk Split. It was a very difficult decision to make but in the end it was not a footballing decision. Unfortunately my youngest daughter suffers from asthma and since we returned to Croatia she has been feeling much better. I spoke with my wife about this and she decided it would be far better to keep the family here in Croatia for the benefit of my daughter. The option was there for me to go back to England and stay with West Ham, but it would have been very hard for me to be without my family. My agent has been dealing with West Ham over the last few days and they have been very good and understanding about my situation. Now we are just waiting for the papers to be sorted out so I can register as a Hajduk player again. I have one year left on my West Ham contract but it has been agreed that I can move on a free transfer. Itís very disappointing for me to be leaving West Ham because I had a couple of great years there. It has been difficult recently with a couple of big players leaving and the manager moving on as well, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Upton Park. I actually planned to extend my contract and stay on at West Ham for a little longer but circumstances have prevented me from doing this. I hope the fans understand my position and I wish them and the club all the best for the future."

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