PARIS: European federation UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Croatia after the crowd trouble which briefly halted their 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic in Saint-Etienne.
Croat fans have caused regular disciplinary problems for UEFA down the Euro competitive years with the ourburst yesterday having been apparently pre-planned in the context of unrest with the domestic game.
Flares were thrown on the pitch and fighting broke out in the Croatian end when they led 2-1 in the Group D contest. A steward was almost hit by a firecracker as was Croatia goalscorer Ivan Perisic.
The Croat federation has been charged with setting off of fireworks (Article 16 (2) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR)), throwing of objects (Art. 16 (2) DR), crowd disturbance (Art. 16 (2) DR) and racist behaviour (Art. 14 DR).
The racist behaviour charge comes after anti-discrimination monitors from the FARE Network said it had told tournament organisers about fascist songs and banners allegedly waved by Croatia fans during the game.
Croatia coach Ante Cacic made no secret of his feelings after the game, saying: “”These people are really scary, that is why I call them hooligans. These are not really Croatian supporters. These are sports terrorists. The main thing is our country doesn’t want to mess with this kind of hooligans.
“This is maybe just a question about six to 10 individuals. I hope they can be identified and punished. I hope the Croatia FA is doing everything to prevent this, but it is impossible to avoid.
“Ninety-five per cent of our supporters are ashamed in front of Europe, the players are very sad that after playing a beautiful match, this happens.”
State President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic called for a government meeting to discuss the latest trouble involving Croatia fans.
Flares were hurled onto the pitch during a European qualifier against Italy in November 2014 and the team were ordered to play the return match against the Italians in June 2015 behind closed doors as punishment for racist behaviour during a match against Norway two months earlier.
But even the stadium ban did not prevent further trouble, with a swastika being drawn on the pitch in Split before the Italy match.
UEFA reacted by docking Croatia one qualifying point, ordering them to play two further matches behind closed doors and issuing a 100,000 euro fine.
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic fears the team could now be thrown out of Euro 2016 after the crowd trouble. He said referee Mark Clattenburg was ready to abandon the game if order had not been speedily restored.
Disciplinary proceedings have also been opened against Turkey for fan trouble after their 3-0 defeat by European champions Spain in Nice.
Both cases will be dealt with by the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body on Monday.