UEFA looks into reports banana thrown at Euro 2012

UEFA is looking into reports that a banana was thrown by Croatia

fans toward the pitch during a European Championship match against

Italy.

UEFA said Friday it is seeking more information about the

incident, which reportedly happened Thursday in Poznan, Poland.

European football’s ruling body said it had not opened a

disciplinary case against the Croatia football association. Italian

officials had also not formally complained, UEFA said.

Both Italy matches at Euro 2012 have now been the subject of

alleged racist abuse by its opponent’s fans.

UEFA is currently investigating claims by a Spanish fans’ group

that some Spain followers made monkey chants at Italy forward Mario

Balotelli, who is black, during a Group C match last Sunday in

Gdansk.

Balotelli started for Italy against Croatia, and was replaced in

the second half.

Ahead of the tournament, Balotelli said in an interview that he

would want to ”kill” anyone who threw a banana at him. He also

threatened to walk off the pitch if he was racially abused.

The Croatia FA was fined ?25,000 ($31,500) on Friday for its

fans’ behavior at an earlier match against Ireland.

UEFA said the sanction was imposed for ”the setting off and

throwing of fireworks and missiles, and a pitch invasion by a

supporter.”

A Croatia fan was tackled by stewards after trying to reach

coach Slaven Bilic following the 3-1 win last Sunday in Poznan,

Poland.

After Croatia led 2-1, Ireland’s kickoff was delayed while smoke

from fireworks cleared at one end of the stadium packed with

Croatia fans.

Italy’s kickoff was also delayed by firework smoke on Thursday

after Croatia equalized in the 1-1 draw. A further UEFA charge is

likely.

Bilic said Friday it was ”unbelievable” to see so many fans in

Poznan.

”We were like the home side, it also lifted us and we’d like to

thank them for coming because we felt their presence,” Bilic said.

”Unfortunately, you will always find some individuals that cause

the problems with some fireworks or with some whistles.”

In a separate case Friday, the Italian FA lodged a complaint

with UEFA over Croatia fans whistling when Italy’s national anthem

was played before the match.

Associated Press writer Pan Pylas contributed to this report

from Warka, Poland.