The Croatian Football Federation announces that no tickets will be available to Croatian fans for the three remaining away matches in the European qualifiers…
The Croatian Football Federation explained the reasons in a press release on Friday:
At away matches in Azerbaijan (3 September), Norway (6 September) and Malta (13 October), there will be no organized fan support stands for Croatian supporters, Croatian Football Federation decided following a detailed review of UEFA sanctions for the “racist behaviour during the Croatia – Italy encounter”.
For the swastika on the field, Croatian Football Federation was sanctioned with a one point deduction, EUR 100,000, two matches behind closed doors and Poljud Stadium ban for the rest of the qualifiers.
UEFA Disciplinary Committee’s serious explanation suggests that Croatia was extremely close to being disqualified from the competition and that this was more than a caution. Any racist incident during the following matches can lead to Croatia’s disqualification from EURO 2016.
Croatian Football Federation is obliged to prevent this worst-case scenario. Following a detailed review of all the possibilities, through consulting the security representatives to determine the risk levels, it was decided that Croatian Football Federation will not organize away fan support for the remaining away European qualifiers.
This was a very difficult decision to make, and HNS deeply regrets it because of all the fans that express a true love for the national team. However, in this fight against hooliganism we find it necessary to sacrifice the support of a couple of hundred away fans at these matches, in order to experience happiness, pleasure and pride of the millions of Croatian fans who want to live for the national team during EURO 2016 next summer.
We believe that all the fans will understand the reasons behind this decision. The goal is to protect the national team and its ambition to fight for the European title in France, together with 23 other national teams.
We cannot allow that a handful of hooligans, that lack respect even for the Croatian national team, destroys the effort of the Vatreni and the head coach Niko Kovač, thus preventing the “invasion” of true Croatian supporters into France.
To us all, that is the main goal, and we strongly believe that it has the backing of all the fans who wanted to support Vatreni in Azerbaijan, Norway and Malta.