Tuesday, December 17, 2013
BANNED: Croatian team captain Josip Simunic - FIFA VERDICT / "Britić - The British Serb magazine" December 17, 2013
Britić - The British Serb magazine
December 17, 2013
Yesterday [December 16] FIFA the world football governing body has acted to effectively end the international football career of the Croatian team captain Josip Simunic.
The 35 year old Dinamo Zagreb defender, “lead Croatian fans in a chant with pro Nazi connotations”, the BBC reported this morning, following Croatia’s qualification for next years world cup in Brazil.
In a statement FIFA who handed Simunic a 10 match ban said, “The salute was discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons.” Simunic, who denies any political intent was also fined £20,000.
Following his teams win in Zagreb, Simunic took the announcers microphone and addressed all sides of the stadium shouting “For the homeland!”, to which fans respond “Ready!”. The BBC reported this morning, “The chant has associations with the Ustasha, a fascist movement which was banned in 1945.”
FIFA also said, “After taking into account all of the circumstances of the case, and particularly given the gravity of the incident, the committee decided to suspend the player for ten official matches.
Moreover, the committee decided that the player will be banned from entering the confines of the stadiums with regard to the ten matches for which he is suspended.”
Australian-born Simunic said, “As a Croatian who was born and grew up outside my homeland, I associate home with love, warmth and positive struggle.” He went on to say, “Even the thought that someone could put me in the context of incitement of hatred or violence is horrible.”
I think that the action of FIFA will be viewed as extreme by many Croatians, but this incident reveals that Croatian pride in one’s country can spill over into an unacceptable nationalism, and that the international interpretation of such action is important and should be taken into account.
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