UEFA to act against Croatia for pitch swastika

AFP , Monday 15 Jun 2015

UEFA on Monday opened disciplinary proceedings against the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) after a swastika was apparently scrawled on the pitch in Split during Croatia's 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifying draw with Italy on Friday.

UEFA had ordered Friday's match to be played behind closed doors at the Poljud Stadium as punishment for fan violence and racist incidents when Croatia played Norway earlier in the qualifying campaign.

A swastika, however, appeared to be visible on the pitch at the ground which is the home of Croatian top-flight side Hajduk Split and UEFA said they would take action for "racist behaviour".

A decision on whether to take any action will be made on July 16.

Groundsmen struggled to cover up the Nazi symbol at half-time of the qualifying Group H encounter, and the HNS later issued a public apology.

"This was an obvious act of sabotage and a criminal act. We condemn it and ask the police and judicial bodies to find the person(s) responsible for what is a shame not only for Croatian football, but the entire country," Croatian federation press officer Tomislav Pacak said in a statement.

UEFA have also opened disciplinary proceedings against the Irish FA after a photographer was struck by a firework during Northern Ireland's 0-0 draw with Romania in Belfast on Saturday.

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