Euro 2012: Racism charges against Croatia for abuse of Mario Balotelli
UEFA laid its first formal charges of racism at the European Championship on Saturday, opening a case against the Croatian football association after receiving reports that fans made monkey chants at Italy forward Mario Balotelli.
Croatia is charged with “improper conduct” of supporters, including “racist chants, racist symbols” at a game in Poznan on Thursday, UEFA said in a statement.
UEFA received reports from anti-discrimination monitors working with Football Against Racism in Europe, who wrote that Croatia fans made monkey noises and displayed far-right nationalist flags.
“It was fairly consistent throughout the game,” said FARE executive director Piara Powar. “It was at its most intense as he was substituted and left the field.”
The charge also relates to fireworks thrown on the field after Croatia scored, which delayed Italy’s kickoff to restart the game.
UEFA said its disciplinary panel will judge the case against Croatia tomorrow.
The Croatia association, known by its initials HNS, said it condemned the incident and said that those responsible were “not supporters, but hooligans.” They also appealed to UEFA “not to punish the Croatian national team.”
UEFA rules make national associations responsible for their fans’ behavior. Punishments range from warnings and fines to points deductions and even expulsion from Euro 2012.
Four years ago, UEFA fined Croatia 20,000 Swiss francs (then $19,600; €12,450) for its fans’ neo-Nazi flags and chants during a Euro 2008 quarter-final against Turkey in Vienna. Also in 2008, FIFA fined Croatia 30,000 Swiss francs (then $27,700; €18,800) after England forward Emile Heskey was subjected to racist abuse during a match in Zagreb. UEFA is also studying reports that a banana was thrown toward the field from a section housing Croatia fans in Poznan.
Balotelli has now been the target of reported abuse at both Italy matches at Euro 2012 with UEFA investigating claims by a Spanish fans’ group that some Spain followers made monkey chants at him during a Group C match last Sunday in Gdansk.
In a separate investigation, UEFA is seeking evidence to support claims that Russian fans made monkey noises at the Czech Republic’s Theodor Gebre Selassie in Wroclaw.
UEFA has pledged zero tolerance of racism in Poland and Ukraine during the three-week tournament.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East