FIFA sanctioned World Cup quarterfinalists Croatia on Wednesday after abuse by fans against Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
A disciplinary investigation fined the Croatian federation 50,000 Swiss francs (50,674 euros) “in connection with the behavior of Croatian supporters during the FIFA World Cup match Croatia vs Canada on November 27,” a statement announced. During the match in Doha, Croatian fans verbally insulted Borjan, an ethnic Serb, who was born in Croatia but fled the country as a child.
They also brandished banners, including one referring to a 1995 military operation that ended Croatia’s war of independence. During and after the operation, more than 200,000 ethnic Serbs fled the country, including Borjan’s family. Croatia’s punishment comes 48 hours before they face Brazil in the quarterfinals on Friday. The Serbian federation was also in the dock by FIFA, being fined 20,000 Swiss francs for a controversial flag depicting Kosovo hung in the team’s locker room during the group stage match against Brazil.
The football federation of Kosovo (FFK) filed a complaint with the governing body after photos showed a version of the Serbian flag with a map that included Kosovo as part of the country and emblazoned with the slogan “there will be no surrender”. Kosovo, a former Yugoslav province with an Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade refuses to recognize. In a third case before FIFA’s disciplinary committee, six bookings for the Saudi Arabian team in their matches against Argentina and Mexico cost their federation two fines of 15,000 Swiss francs each.