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Croatian star Simunic to be investigated by FIFA over alleged pro nazi chants

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Fifa will start disciplinary proceedings against Josip Simunic and Croatia for the events that followed their 2-0 World Cup play-off win over Iceland.

Simunic, 35, was already fined £2,600 by Croatian prosecutors for "spreading racial hatred" after appearing to lead fans in a chant with pro-Nazi connotations following the 2-0 win.

After the game, the defender went over to the Croatian fans with a microphone and led them in chants "for the homeland" - the fans responding "ready". The chant has associations with the Ustasha, Croatia's rulers during World War II.

 The player however, denies that he had a poltical agenda, and in a statement released on Wednesday he said,  "Even the thought that someone could put me in the context of incitement of hatred or violence is horrible."

"As a Croatian who was born and grew up outside my homeland, I associate home with love, warmth and positive struggle - everything that we showed on the pitch to win our place in the World Cup."

"And these were the only reasons I got carried away with my emotions and why I started the kind of exchange with the supporters."

Fifa was awaiting a report from match officials and gathering information from Football Against Racism in Europe observers before deciding whether to take action.

The chant, coupled with the Nazi salute, has been used by Croatia fans in the past, leading to disciplinary punishments from Fifa and Uefa.

 

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