NYON: Croatia football leaders expressed their relief after the federation was penalised ‘only’ one point by UEFA in the Euro 2016 qualifiers over the swastika incident.

The Croat federation was also ordered to play two matches behind closed doors and fined €100,000 by the European federation’s disciplinary committee after a swastika became visible during last month’s 1-1 draw against Italy in Split’s Poljud.

Croatia thus stay top of Group H with 13 points from six games, one more than second-placed Italy.

The symbol had been emblazoned on the pitch with a chemical agent up to 48 hours before kickoff. Local police have charged the HNS and two officials with negligence and with regulatory failures over the organisation of a sports event.

A UEFA statement said: “The UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body today decided to impose a deduction of one point on the Croatia federation [HNS] . . . for ‘racist behaviour’.

“The HNS has also been ordered to play its next two home matches in UEFA competition behind closed doors and not to play any of its remaining qualifying games at the Stadion Poljud in Split.”

Federation vice-president Ante Kulusic said: “This is the verdict we had hoped for although we feared expulsion. We have been let off the hook today but if anything like this happens again, no one will able to save us.

“The UEFA decision shows that these individuals who tried to destroy Croatia with their henious act have failed. Croatia will qualify for Euro 2016 while these hooligans must look at their lives.”

Croatia were already playing the Italy match behind closed doors after being handed a one-match ban for racist chants by their fans in a 5-1 home win over Norway in Zagreb in March.

That followed incidents during a 1-1 draw against Italy in Milan last November when flares were hurled on to the pitch.

** Barcelona have been fined €30,000 by UEFA for fans displaying pro-Catalan political banners during their 3-1 win over Juventus at the Champions League Final in Berlin.