FIFA announced on Wednesday that the Croatian and Serbian football federations will be fined for making political statements during the ongoing World Cup in Qatar. While Croatia is set to face a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ($53,000), Serbia will have to pay 20,000 Swiss francs ($21,300) to FIFA.
Croatian fans have violated FIFA’s code of conduct after the fans taunted and verbally abused Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan with reference to his Serbian roots. FIFA said that the charges against Croatia relate to “use of words and objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports event.”
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During Canada’s 4-1 loss to Croatia in the group stage, a flag put up by the Croatian fans showed tractor manufacturer John Deere with a morphed marketing slogan to target Borjan.
Brojan was born to an ethnic Serbian region in Croatia which was taken by Croatian forces in 1995. Why fleeing their land, the ethnic Serbs are said to have fled on tractors and hence the reference from the Croatian fans.
On the other hand, the Serbian federations will face fines because the Serbian team displayed a banner in its locker room before the match against Brazil. The banner showed Kosovo, a former Serbian province, included in a map of Serbia even though they gained independence from Serbia 15 years ago. The slogan on the banner alongside the map read: “No Surrender”.
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The decision to fine Serbia was taken after the Kosovo federation lodged an official complaint with FIFA regarding the banner.
While Serbia are already out of the World Cup, Croatia secured a berth in the quarter-finals after winning against Japan in penalty shootouts. They will be facing Brazil next in the quarter-final.