Croatian player sanctioned for discriminatory behaviour
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Croatian international Josip Simunic suspended for ten official matches, banned from entering the confines of the stadiums for those ten matches and fined CHF 30,000.

Today, 16 December 2013, the Croatian Football Federation and Josip Simunic have been notified of the sanctions imposed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee against the player at its meeting held on 12 December 2013.

Following the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ European play-off match between Croatia and Iceland played in Zagreb, Croatia on 19 November 2013, FIFA was made aware that the player, after the final whistle, displayed discriminatory behaviour in interaction with the Croatian supporters.

Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings on 22 November 2013, the Disciplinary Committee analysed all documentation at its disposal.

The committee took note that the player, together with the crowd, shouted a Croatian salute that was used during World War II by the fascist “Ustaše” movement. As a consequence, the committee agreed that this salute was discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning, inter alia, race, religion or origin, in a clear breach of article 58 par. 1a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

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.

The first matches of the ten-match suspension have to be served during the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

Depending on the stage at which the final match of the representative team of Croatia takes place in the scope of the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the remaining matches of the ten-match suspension will be carried over to the representative team’s subsequent 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.

Finally, the committee decided to impose a fine of CHF 30,000 on the player.

FIFA is committed to fighting all forms of discrimination in football and works closely with its member associations around the world to educate and inspire a message of equality and respect. The creation of the FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination by FIFA President Blatter in early March 2013 was a key step in the ongoing fight against discrimination.

The resolution on the fight against racism and discrimination, which was approved at the FIFA Congress in May 2013, advocates the need for strict punishments to send out a strong message that discrimination has no place in the game.