Croatia have sent home the coach who infuriated Russia by giving a Ukrainian victory chant after their quarter-final win over the hosts.
Defender Domagoj Vida and former midfielder Ognjen Vukojevic filmed themselves on social media chanting “Glory to Ukraine” and other slogans following the game in Sochi.
Angry Russian authorities demanded that FIFA sanction the duo and their country, but the football regulator gave Vida a formal warning only and not a ban.
The Croatian FA, in a statement, made a public apology to their Russian counterparts on Tuesday. They announced Vukojevic had been stripped of his accreditation and ordered home.
The FA wrote,
“The Croatian Football Association wishes to apologise to the Russian public for the behaviour of a member of the staff of the team.
“Ognjen Vukojevic has been relieved of his duties and will no longer be a member of our delegation at the World Cup.”
Vukojevic also apologised and accepted the decision of the FA.
“I understand and respect the decision of the Croatian Football Association.
“I would not want to be a burden to the team ahead of the extremely important semi-finals of the World Cup when the thing they need most is peace.
“There were no political connotations in my statements but I understand they could be interpreted differently.
“I’m very proud of what Croatia has done so far in Russia, and I want to be happy with the boys for the remaining matches. I will be their biggest fan to the very end.”
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