FIFA Opens Disciplinary Case Against Croatia for Taunts from Fans Toward Canadian Goalkeeper Milan Borjan

Croatian fans seem to have caused some problems for their team as FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against Croatia. The fans made taunts aimed at Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who is a Serbian-born Canadian, during Canada vs Croatia match on Sunday that ended with Canada losing 1-4.

The case citing rules relating to discrimination and security at games has been filed against the Croatian soccer federation “due to the behavior of its fans,” according to FIFA. Canada Soccer also filed a formal complaint following the case. During the match, one banner held up by Croatia fans had a flag of tractor manufacturer John Deere which they modified to target Borjan. The fan abuse got even louder in the second half.

Borjan was born in a Serbian region of Croatia and in 1995 it was taken by Croatian forces. Borjan’s family left their hometown and there were stories from the era stating Serbians fled on tractors. The Canadian goalkeeper was 13 years old when his family moved to Winnipeg, Canada. The 35-year-old plays his club football for the storied Serbian club Red Star Belgrade and has won 71 caps for Canada.

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The disciplinary cases typically end up in fines being paid by the federation. The first disciplinary verdict in this World Cup saw a 10,000 Swiss franc (CAD $14,000) fine from the German soccer federation imposed by FIFA. They were fined for not bringing players to the mandatory news conference one day before a game.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has not been free of controversy. Recently, it was reported that Denmark could walk out of the tournament because of the way FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been handling the tournament. The latest incident that added to the frustration of European soccer teams was the ban on “One Love” armbands that some players wanted to wear to show solidarity toward the anti-discrimination campaign.

The European teams and officials are at odds with FIFA president after the comments he made at the eve-of-tournament news conference, calling European society and media hypocrites.

Vineet Washington

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