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Croatia FA faces racism charges

Warsaw – Croatia's Football Federation was charged by Uefa on Saturday for racist chants by the national team's fans and the displaying of racist symbols in the Euro 2012 Group C game against Italy on Thursday, Uefa said.

“Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) for the setting-off and throwing of fireworks, and the improper conduct of supporters (racist chants, racist symbols) at the Uefa Euro 2012 Group C match against Italy in Poznan on Thursday,” European soccer's governing body said in a statement.

A steward holds a banana after picking it up off the pitch during the Euro 2012 Group C match between Italy and Croatia. Credit: AFP

Uefa said on Friday it was investigating reports that a banana was thrown on to the pitch during the match which ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) network, which works closely with Uefa and has two “international monitors” at each Euro 2012 game, tweeted on Friday that's its observers reported “between 300 and 500 Croatian fans were involved in racially abusing Italy striker Mario Balotelli.”

The Uefa Control and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case on Tuesday.

Uefa is still investigating reports of alleged racist chanting during Italy's match against Spain in Gdansk on June 10.

Racism was a major source of concern in Poland and Ukraine before the tournament and Balotelli said he would “kill” anyone who threw bananas at him in the street or walk off the pitch if he heard monkey noises during a match. – Reuters

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