UEFA moved to act against racism
at Euro 2012 when it charged Croatia's Football Federation on
Saturday for racist chants by the national team's fans in the
Group C match against Italy in Poznan on Thursday.
European football's governing body has already sanctioned the
Russian FA for the displaying of "illicit banners" by their fans
at the tournament, but the Croatians are the first to face
disciplinary proceedings for racist chants and displaying racist
UEFA are still investigating reports of alleged racist
chanting during Italy's match against Spain in Gdansk on June
10, and Russia's match with the Czech Republic in Wroclaw on
June 8 - the opening day of the tournament.
The issue of racism dominated the build-up to the
tournament, co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine and the biggest
sporting event in eastern Europe since the end of communism.
"UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the
Croatian Football Federation (HNS) for the setting-off and
throwing of fireworks, and the improper conduct of supporters
(racist chants, racist symbols) at the UEFA Euro 2012 Group C
match against Italy in Poznan on Thursday," UEFA said in a
statement on Saturday.
UEFA is also investigating reports that a banana was thrown
on to the pitch during the match which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, which
works closely with UEFA and has two "international monitors" at
each Euro 2012 game, tweeted on Friday that's its observers
reported "between 300 and 500 Croatian fans were involved in
racially abusing Italy striker Mario Balotelli."
The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body will deal with the
case on Tuesday.
The controversial Balotelli said before the tournament he
would "kill" anyone who threw bananas at him in the street or
walk off the pitch if he heard monkey noises during a match.
Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie, the first black
player to be play for the Czech national team, told reporters he
had "noticed" racist chants directed at him during his side's
game with Russia.
Some members of the Netherlands squad also complained of
hearing monkey noises at an open training session at Wisla
Krakow's stadium on June 8 when tens of thousands of Poles
turned up to watch.
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