Croatia's Simunic banned from World Cup for pro-Nazi chant

Dec. 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM   |   0 comments

NYON, Switzerland, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Croatian defender Josip Simunic has been banned from play in the 2014 World Cup for use of a pro-Nazi salute following a game in November, FIFA said Monday.

FIFA, soccer's world governing body, issued a 10-game suspension against Simunic, a sanction to begin to Croatia's first World Cup game. Simunic was banned from entering the stadiums where Croatia is playing a World Cup match and was fined about $34,000.

The Croats open their 2014 World Cup June 12 against host team Brazil. Teams that advance as far the as the World Cup semifinals would play 10 games in the tournament.

If Croatia, ranked No. 16 in the world, doesn't reach the semifinals, Simunic's suspension would carry into post-World Cup action.

Croatia defeated Iceland 2-0 in a World Cup qualification game Nov. 19. After the match, Simunic took a microphone and, along with some Croatian fans at the game, shouted a WWII-era chant used by Croatia's pro-Nazi movement.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee said the chant was discriminatory and was offensive on racism, religion and national-origin grounds, which violates Article 58 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

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