On Wednesday UEFA ordered the Croatian Football Association to play its next UEFA competition match as host association behind closed doors (against Italy on 12 June), and also fined the federation €50,000 for ‘racist behaviour of supporters’ and ‘setting off/throwing of missiles and fireworks’ during their recent Euro 2016 qualifier in Zagreb against Norway.
“We will appeal UEFA’s decision. We have been smashed by the decision that we have to play in front of an empty stadium. Many times we have repeated that we have to be careful about the behaviour of the fans, it seems many did not understand the point after we were fined 80,000 euros and forced to close part of the stadium after the Italy game (at the San Siro),” said Croatian football federation President Davor Šuker at a press conference today.
“I doubt that the appeal will be successful, but we will do all we can in our power to get the punishment at least reduced,” he said, before adding.
“It was a big shock, we are sad, but we move on. We have to find those who are to blame and deal with them. We know what is next; deduction of points and being thrown out of the competition. For us the Norway match was an improvement, only 6 firecrackers went off, but that obviously is still not enough.”
Šuker said that will the help from the police they will find the culprits.
“What has happened to our fans? In 1998 they were the best in the world, what has happened now? Financial crisis? We will survive this, but they are destroying Croatia’s image around the world,” said Šuker.
The Croatian football federation says it has no intention to move the match from Split, despite Hajduk Split saying they were no longer interested in hosting the match.
“Hajduk Split have refused to organise the match in front of an empty stadium, so we will hire the stadium and organise it there ourselves. It would be nice to have support from the local council, but if required we are capable to organise it ourselves,” said the federation’s Damir Vrbanović. (photo / Drago Sopta / HNS)