2 Croatia players face World Cup bans by FIFA
Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic risks being suspended for all three
World Cup group matches when FIFA judges his disciplinary case on
FIFA said Tuesday that its disciplinary panel will also consider
a case against Croatia defender Joe Simunic, who led fans in Zagreb
chanting a fascist slogan after the team qualified by beating
Iceland last month.
Mandzukic will miss the World Cup opener against Brazil after
being sent off for an appalling studs-high challenge in the playoff
The Bayern Munich player gets an automatic one-match ban for his
challenge on the left knee of Iceland’s Johann Gudmundsson.
The FIFA panel can impose a longer sanction, with disciplinary
rules requiring bans of at least one match for ”serious foul
play” and at least two matches for ”assaulting (elbowing,
punching, kicking etc.).”
Croatia also plays Cameroon and Mexico in Group A.
Croatia coach Niko Kovac has said he expects Mandzukic to miss a
maximum of two matches, and still intends to select the star
forward in his squad.
In the second case, FIFA has acted against Simunic ”for his own
behavior and other proceedings were opened against Croatia
(football federation) for improper conduct of the spectators.”
Simunic took a microphone following Croatia’s 2-0 victory and
shouted to supporters: ”For the homeland!” Fans responded:
The call was used by the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime that
ruled the state during World War II.
FIFA’s definition of ”improper conduct” in its disciplinary
code includes ”displaying insulting or political slogans in any
form, uttering insulting words.”
Simunic later apologized after first defending his action,
saying he was driven by love for his country.
He was fined $4,300 by Croatian public prosecutors for
”spreading racial hatred.”