Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Fifa Investigates Croatia Fans After Jeering Canadian Goalkeeper

Fifa, the international governing body of football, launched a disciplinary investigation into Croatia's fans on Tuesday following their jeering of Canada's goalkeeper Milan Borjan. The jeers were reportedly due to Borjan's Serbian family ties.

Fifa Investigates Croatia Fans After Jeering Canadian Goalkeeper

The incident occurred during Sunday's game which resulted in Canada's defeat at 4-1. A banner was displayed showing Borjan's family's hometown, with the logo of a tractor manufacturer above it. This is likely referencing the time when Serbs were reported to have fled Croatia in tractors in 1995, when Yugoslavia broke up. Borjan's family moved to Canada in 2000.

Additionally, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Mexico and Ecuador for allegedly singing homophobic chants. This follows Fifa's 'zero-tolerance policy' for discriminatory fan abuse. Under this policy, referees are authorised to suspend or terminate matches if players are being targeted for race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

In 2019, Fifa increased the penalties for discriminatory abuse, with the minimum fine set at 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,900; £17,500), as well as requiring that the team play one game in an empty stadium. Since then, several sanctions have been issued during matches. Last year, Mexico was fined 100,000 Swiss francs and asked to play two World Cup qualifying games in front of empty stands due to homophobic chants. Hungary's football federation was also fined 200,000 Swiss francs and ordered to ban fans from attending two matches for abusing black English players.

Fifa has itself come under fire after selecting Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, to host the World Cup. There have been reports of people being told to remove items of clothing - such as hats or armbands - that show support for the LGBT community. Nevertheless, Qatar has insisted that all viewers will be welcome at the tournament.