FIFA Croatia fine highlights inconsistencies03 October 2008

The Croatian Football Federation has been fined £14,920 for the racist behaviour of some of their supporters in the World Cup qualifier against England earlier this month.

England striker Emile Heskey was subjected to monkey chants from a small section of the crowd at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb after being booked during the 4-1 victory for Fabio Capello's side.

The fine, handed down by FIFA, appears to contradict their previous hardline approach to racist behaviour by fans, which was announced in its Disciplinary Code in 2006. The code has since been changed in May of this year, but went unnoticed as FIFA did not announce this.

The Code reads:
2. b) Serious offences may be punished with additional sanctions,in particular an order to play a match behind closed doors, the forfeit of a match, a points deduction or disqualification from the competition.

It is the second time in a matter of months Croatian fans have been found guilty of racist behaviour, with Fifa issuing a small fine during Euro 2008 following chants during their quarter-final against Turkey.

Croatia were also fined after Euro 2004 in Portugal for a similar offence.

The Football Association had asked Fifa to investigate the incident and the world governing body have today issued the fine.

A statement from FIFA reads: “The Fifa disciplinary committee has fined the Croatia Football Federation CHF 30,000 (£14,920) for the racist behaviour of some of their supporters at the September 10 2008 Croatia v England preliminary competition match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“The Croatian Football Federation was found guilty of a violation of article 58, paragraph 2 of the Fifa disciplinary code, and received a warning regarding its future conduct according to article 13. Further infringements of article 58 would lead to more severe sanctions by the Fifa disciplinary committee.”