Josip Simunic given ten-match ban

FIFA has handed Croatia international defender, Josip Simunic, a ten-match ban for his behaviour after the World Cup play-off match between against Iceland on 19 November 2013.

Croatia qualified for the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Iceland. Video footage showed Simunic taking a microphone to the field after the match and shouting to the fans: “For the homeland!” The fans respond: “Ready!” That was the war call used by Ustashas, the Croatian pro-Nazi regime that ruled the state during the second world war.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee concluded that that Simunic’s behaviour was discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning, inter alia, race, religion or origin, in a clear breach of article 58 par. 1a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

The ban means that Simunic misses next year’d World Cup and at the age of 35, could effectively mark the end of his international career.

The committee also decreed that Simunic will be banned from entering the stadiums with regard to the ten matches for which he is suspended.

The player was also fined CHF 30,000.