Croatia sack staff member Ognjen Vukojevic over 'glory to Ukraine' message

Virginia Santiago
July 10, 2018

After a brief review of the incident, Federation Internationale de Football Association confirmed that it had simply issued a warning to Vida over his comments.

The Croatian Football have sacked Ognjen Vukojevic (left) after he posted a "Glory to Ukraine" video following the country's win against Russian Federation on Sunday.

The HNS has since apologised for the Croatian delegation members' behaviour, and Vida also expressed regret for his words.

The decision against Ognjen Vukojevic, announced by the federation on July 9, was the latest fallout from the video which showed defender Domagoj Vida celebrating his team's victory by saying "Glory to Ukraine".

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The incident comes as Croatia prepare to face England on Wednesday with a place in the World Cup final at stake.

In the video, posted on Facebook by Ukrainian journalist Andrey Shakhov, Vida said: "Glory to Ukraine".

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"I am happy to speak the Russian language, I enjoy Russian hospitality at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and I sincerely hope that this message will not be understood as anything else but an expression of gratitude to our friends in Ukraine for their support - not in the match against Russia, but during the entire World Cup".

Vida scored an extra-time goal in the match and converted one of Croatia's penalties in the shootout win in Sochi. Football is outside politics.

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During the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation, the hosting national football team managed to make it to the quarterfinals stage, where Croatia edged them out on a 4-2 penalty shootout to close Saturday's spectacular match in Sochi.

"Our intention was not to offend anyone".

Both Vida and Vukojevic previously played for Ukrainian Premier League club Dynamo Kiev.

"I would never want to be a burden to the national team, especially not ahead of a match as monumental as the World Cup semi-final, when the team is most in need of a peaceful atmosphere", Vukojevic said.

According to Fifa's disciplinary code, political slogans are banned from the game while Section 54 states that: "Anyone who provokes the general public during a match will be suspended for two matches and sanctioned with a minimum fine of CHF 5,000 (£3,800)".

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The suspect turned around and looked at the frantic mother - "with his eyes bugged" - but kept going, she said. A man got into her vehicle while she was inside paying for gas, the woman told KDFW-TV .

The player had earlier said the message was "just a joke".

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