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Simunic gets 10-match ban

16 December 2013 17:56

Croatia defender Josip Simunic will miss the FIFA World Cup finals after being given a 10-match ban by FIFA for "discriminatory behaviour."

The 35-year-old's international career could be over, with football's governing body having punished him for controversial chants he made after Croatia qualified for next year's finals with a play-off victory over Iceland in November.

Using a microphone to address fans in Zagreb, Simunic shouted: "For the homeland". In response to Simunic's call, the fans replied: "Ready!"

The call was used by the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime, the Ustashas, who ruled the state when thousands of people were killed in concentration camps during World War II.

FIFA's disciplinary committee met last Thursday to determine what action to take against the Dinamo Zagreb man and released a statement on Monday to confirm his punishment, adding that Simunic's suspension must begin at the World Cup finals.

The statement read: "The committee took note that the player, together with the crowd, shouted a Croatian salute that was used during World War II by the fascist "Ustase" movement.

"As a consequence, the committee agreed that this salute was discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning, inter alia, race, religion or origin, in a clear breach of article 58 par. 1a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

"After taking into account all of the circumstances of the case, and particularly given the gravity of the incident, the committee decided to suspend the player for ten official matches.

"The first matches of the ten-match suspension have to be served during the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

"Depending on the stage at which the final match of the representative team of Croatia takes place in the scope of the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the remaining matches of the ten-match suspension will be carried over to the representative team's subsequent official matches.

"Moreover, the committee decided that the player will be banned from entering the confines of the stadiums with regard to the ten matches for which he is suspended.

"Finally, the committee decided to impose a fine of CHF30,000 on the player."

Croatia play in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup, against hosts Brazil in Sao Paulo, on June 12.

Simunic has gained 105 caps for his country since making his debut in 2001.

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