Sport Soccer

Tuesday 21 November 2017

FIFA charges Croatia defender Josip Simunic over pro-Nazi chants

Martyn Ziegler

CROATIA defender Josip Simunic has been charged by FIFA after appearing to lead fans in a chant with pro-Nazi connotations.

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the 35-year-old after he began chants - that reportedly have associations with Croatia's former pro-Nazi Ustashas regime - with home fans following the 2-0 win over Iceland that saw Croatia qualify for the World Cup.

FIFA said in a statement: "We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened concerning the case."

According to reports in Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb captain Simunic was fined £2,600 yesterday by prosecutors in Zagreb for "spreading racial hatred".

A Dinamo statement denied any intent to make a political statement but confirmed that Simunic had used the phrase: "For the homeland". Croatian fans replied by shouting: "Ready".

The 35-year-old, who was born and grew up in Australia, was recorded on video leading the chants with a microphone, which has caused a stir of controversy.

"The thought that anyone could associate me with any form of hatred or violence terrifies me," he said in a statement on Dinamo's official website.

"If anyone understood my cries differently, or negatively, I hereby want to deny they contained any political context.

"They were guided exclusively by my love for my people and homeland, not hatred and destruction."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport