UEFA has deducted three points from Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League because of fan violence during a match last month.
The governing body of European football also ruled Friday that the team has to play the next two games behind closed doors. The team is scheduled to face Ajax next week and Timosoara in December.
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Violence in Soccer
Croatian football officials expressed dismay with the ruling, particularly because it likely will knock Dinamo Zagreb out of the competition.
UEFA said its decision followed “serious crowd disturbances” at Dinamo Zagreb’s away match against Timosoara on Oct. 1.
“The three-point deduction is effective immediately and is taken from the total number of points achieved by Dinamo Zagreb in Group A,” UEFA said.
Dinamo officials say they will appeal the ruling.
Dinamo director Damir Vrbanic said they “didn’t expect that UEFA will punish our club so harshly, because our club is not responsible” for the fans’ behavior.
“Those responsible are the hooligans who call themselves Dinamo fans, while they put to shame both the team and our state whenever Dinamo plays abroad,” Vrbanic said.
He expressed understanding for UEFA’s decision, saying the problems in Timosoara “were obviously the last drop that spilled over UEFA’s glass of patience.”
Croatian fans have become notorious for their violent behavior.
Last year, the national team was fined $27,700 by FIFA for fans’ racist chants during a match against England.
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor pledged her government will no longer tolerate fan violence, adding that “those savages will not get the message” as long as matches and TV coverage aren’t suspended following incidents.