Simunic handed 10-game ban

Croatia defender Josip Simunic will miss the World Cup after FIFA found him guilty of chanting a pro-Nazi slogan and issued a 10-game suspension.

Last Updated: 16/12/13 at 19:52 Post Comment

Josip Simunic: Croatia defender has been handed 10-match suspension

Josip Simunic: Croatia defender has been handed 10-match suspension

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Simunic took the microphone in the aftermath of last month's 2-0 play-off win over Iceland and addressed the crowd with a cry of: "For the people."

That phrase has links with the pro-Nazi regime which ruled Croatia during World War II, and the defender's impassioned denial of any wrongdoing failed to spare him a FIFA charge.

FIFA has now concluded its investigations, and Simunic has been suspended for 10 games - starting with his country's first game in Brazil next summer.

The 35-year-old - capped more than 100 times by his country - has also been banned from attending any of those 10 matches and fined around £20,000.

FIFA explained the severity of the sanction in a statement on its website which read: "The resolution on the fight against racism and discrimination, which was approved in May 2013, advocates the need for strict punishments to send out a strong message that discrimination has no place in the game."

At the time of the incident, Simunic insisted there was no political motivation for his actions.

He said: "The thought that anyone could associate me with any form of hatred or violence terrifies me."

The ban was branded "draconian" by Croatia Football Federation (HNS) executive chairman Damir Vrbanovic, who said the HNS would support an appeal but was already planning for a World Cup without the 105-times capped Simunic, whose international career could now be over.

Following the announcement of the ban, Vrbanovic suggested Simunic was being made an example of in order to send a message to others.

"We are shocked by the decision of FIFA with regard to penalties for Simunic, which endangers the player's representative career," he said in a statement on the HNS website.

"We will give our full support to our team members in the likely appeal of this decision, but we must be honest and admit that this sentence means that Simunic will not be able to participate in the World Cup in Brazil.

"Although we know that through his behaviour he did not want to hurt anybody, FIFA is obviously hoping that such a draconian penalty sends a strong message."

Croatia coach Niko Kovac added: "I was unpleasantly surprised, shocked and disappointed by FIFA's punishment for Josip Simunic. I am primarily sorry for Josip, who will miss the World Cup. I have known him for a long time as a player and as a man, and I am absolutely sure that in no way did he want to hurt anyone."

Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, meanwhile, will miss the World Cup's opening game against Brazil after he was banned for one match for a red card against Iceland.

The HNS said it had been fined 70,000 Swiss francs (£48,300) in relation to the two incidents.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

f Jose left a mess at Inter Milan then Rafa cleaned it up with a hand grenade and a bag of compost

westwoodbo
Benitez 'tidying up Mourinho's messes'

T

he name of the article is apt as all my wildest dreams will come through if it turns out to be true

parsy12
The Vote Pedro Gossip

Y

ouri Tielemans is everything Jack Wilshere wants to be!

ross1119
F365's Top Ten Breakthrough Stars Of 2015/16

Footer 365

Arsene Wenger responds to Jose Mourinho taunt

Arsene Wenger has brushed off Jose Mourinho's latest taunts after the Chelsea boss said the Gunners' recent spending may come as "a surprise".

Manuel Pellegrini backs Raheem Sterling to justify price

Manuel Pellegrini insists Raheem Sterling will justify his club-record £49million price tag at Manchester City in the coming years.

Jose Mourinho: Arsenal spending way to title contention

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says Arsene Wenger is buying his way into Premier League title contention.

Mail Box

Di Maria Just Didn't Fit (S**t Happens)

If a signing doesn't work there doesn't have to be a massive witch hunt. So there. Plus a detailed net spend rant, Breel Embolo, computer games and Louis van Gaal...

The Calculator Is On Wenger's Side...

Over the last five years, Arsenal's net spent is about 55% of Chelsea's, so shush your mouth Jose. Plus, Van Gaal is attacked and defended in equal measure...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company