UEFA looks into reports banana thrown at Euro 2012

BY foxsports • June 15, 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.

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Associated Press writer Pan Pylas contributed to this report from Warka, Poland.


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