FIFA has fined three countries participating at the World Cup 2022 following an investigation related to breaches of discipline during the competition. The fines for Croatia, Serbia and Saudi Arabia add up to a total of 100,000 Swiss Francs (CHF, around £87,200).
Quarter-finalists Croatia were fined the highest amount, CHF 50,000, after their fans verbally insulted Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan, and unfurled a banner aimed at him during their group stage clash on November 27.
The 35-year-old was born in an ethnic Serbian region of Croatia, which his family fled in 1995 after it was taken over by Croatian forces.
Reports have claimed that the ethnic Serbs fled on tractors, with Croatia fans unfurling a banner featuring a John Deere tractor and changing the advertising slogan to mock Borjan.
"The Croatian Football Federation has been fined CHF 50,000 for breaches related to article 16 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (use of words and objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports event) in relation to the behaviour of Croatian supporters during the Croatia v. Canada FIFA World Cup match on 27 November," the official statement released by FIFA read.
Meanwhile, the Serbian FA has been slapped with a fine of 20,000 Swiss Francs for a flag that was hung in their dressing room prior to facing Brazil on November 24. The flag displayed Kosovo as part of Serbia along with the message ‘we do not surrender,’ with an image of it going viral on social media when it was shared by Hajrulla Ceko, Kosovo’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
“The Football Association of Serbia has been fined CHF 20,000 for breaches related to article 11 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and article 4 of the Regulations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in relation to a flag displayed in its dressing room on the occasion of the Brazil v. Serbia FIFA World Cup match on 24 November,” read FIFA’s statement.
Saudi Arabia were the third country to be fined owing to the behaviour of two of their players in two of their three group-stage fixtures in the tournament.