Euro: Croatia fined for racist chanting at Balotelli

The Croatian Football Federation was fined 80,000 euros ($100,600) by Uefa on Tuesday for racist chants directed at Italy striker Mario Balotelli by their fans at the Euro 2012 Group C match in Poznan last Thursday.  
 
"The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has been fined 80,000 euros 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," European soccer's governing body said in a statement.

The financial penalty is 20,000 euros less than the punishment handed out to Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner for revealing the logo of a betting company on his underpants while celebrating a goal at Euro 2012. 

Uefa said an appeal can be lodged by Croatia, who were eliminated from the tournament after defeat in their final group game by Spain on Monday, within three days of the dispatch of the reasoned decision.

The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, which works closely with Uefa and has observers at each Euro 2012 game, said that between 300 and 500 Croatian fans were involved in racially abusing Balotelli.

The Croatian federation condemned the behaviour but had urged UEFA not to punish the national team.

Croatia have previously been fined twice in the last four years for the racist behaviour of their fans.

Uefa fined them 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,800) a few weeks after Euro 2008 for racist banners and behaviour during the match against Turkey.   
World ruling body Fefa fined the Croatian FA 30,000 Swiss francs a few months later after their fans abused England forward Emile Heskey during a World Cup qualifier in Zagreb. 

Uefa president Michel Platini expressed his anger with Croatia on Monday, saying he had spoken of his concerns about supporter behaviour with the Balkan country's President and Prime Minister a year ago.

"I don't manage people but the people who have come to the stadiums (in this tournament), they were very nice, except some Croatians," Platini told reporters. 

The issue of racism dominated the build-up to Euro 2012, co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine and the biggest sporting event in eastern Europe since the end of communism.  
 

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