FIFA have begun disciplinary proceedings against the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) after Croatia fans formed a swastika and made the Nazi salute during a friendly against Italy in Livorno on Wednesday.
“I was really shocked and disappointed by the fans. They do not care about Croatia but only about themselves,” HNS President Vlatko Markovic told the Jutarnji List daily.
Fans of FC Rijeka, named Armada, confirmed they were behind the incident.
“The Nazi cross was our response to provocations by (Italian fans) who waved the Yugoslav flag and communist symbols,” one Armada fan told the Jutarnji List.
Chief HNS security official Zoran Cvrk worries that the incident will undermine a joint bid by Croatia and Hungary to host the 2012 European Championship.
“Each incident with fans is a shot in our bid to host the Euro 2012,” he told the Vecernji List daily.
“This incident deserves to be treated severely. There is no doubt that both FIFA and (European soccer body) UEFA will condemn it. We call on the fans to help us find the perpetrators so that police can ban them from the stadiums.”