Croatia defender Josip Simunic has been banned for ten games by FIFA after alleged pro-Nazi chants with fans following their World Cup qualification match against Iceland. FIFA today revealed its decision to suspend Simunic, who will be watching the World Cup from the comfort of his own home. Immediately following the match against Iceland he wrongly interacted with the home supporters by inciting them to yell pro-Nazi chants. He shouted a salute that was used during the Second World War by the fascist “Ustase movement.”
Unfortunately for Simunic, he has found himself in controversial situations before. He is the only man to ever receive three yellow cards in the same match during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He also has showed aggressive behavior on and off the pitch. These problems certainly did not help his cause and probably added to the length of the ban.
FIFA has made the right decision to suspend Simunic and not allow this type of disgraceful behavior. There is no place in world football these days for racism or fascism. FIFA has been very clear about not allowing racism and rightly so. The ex-Bundesliga star has represented Croatia in 105 competitive matches and will certainly be missed.
Croatia needs experience after being drawn in a difficult group with hosts Brazil, Cameroon and Mexico. With this crushing blow, I don’t see Croatia getting out of that group alive, even with Luka Modric, Darijo Srna and Mario Madzukic in their ranks. I guess that you get what you deserve, and we shouldn’t feel sorry for Simunic when he knows what he is doing.