Croatia soccer body fined by UEFA for racist fan incidents

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Croatia’s soccer federation was punished by UEFA on Friday for “racist and discriminatory behavior” by fans at the team’s last game before traveling to the World Cup.

UEFA did not specify the incidents at Croatia’s 3-1 win at Austria in the Nations League in September, which were reported to be insults directed by fans at the federation and far-right chants.

UEFA ordered a section of the stadium to be closed when Croatia hosts Wales in March to open their 2024 European Championship qualifying group. The Croatian soccer body was fined 20,000 euros ($19,900) for the discrimination and 23,000 euros ($22,900) for other incidents in Vienna.

Long-time tensions between Croatia fans and national soccer officials led to a game being stopped at Euro 2016 because of disorder in the stands.

Croatia prepares for the World Cup playing Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Nov. 16, one week before its opening game in Qatar.

The 2018 World Cup runner-up is in a group with Belgium, Canada and Morocco.

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The Associated Press