MOSCOW — FIFA said Sunday it is investigating a video of a Croatia player praising Ukraine after his team beat World Cup host Russia.
The video shows Croatia defender Domagoj Vida shouting “glory to Ukraine” before the retired ex-player Ognjen Vukojevic adds “this win is for Dynamo and Ukraine … go Croatia.”
Vida and Vukojevic played together at Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv. Vida was a star of Croatia’s win on penalties over Russia on Saturday, scoring a header in extra time and converting a penalty in the shootout.
“FIFA is processing the different reports of the said match as well as potential evidence concerning the matter referred to in your message,” football’s world governing body said when asked about the video. “Please understand, until we have evaluated all information available, we cannot comment further.”
2018 World Cup coverage on Sportsnet
The FIFA World Cup in Russia runs from June 14 to July 15, and Sportsnet.ca will have in-depth daily coverage.
Daily news & feature stories
| Match schedule
| Group standings
| Team profiles
| History of the World Cup
It wasn’t immediately clear whether they intended the video to be made public, or if it was later uploaded to YouTube by someone else.
Vida told the Russian newspaper Sport Express he meant the video to be a personal message.
“There’s no politics in football. It’s a joke for my friends from Dynamo Kyiv,” he was quoted as saying. “I love Russians and I love Ukrainians.”
Tensions have been high since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine’s government accuses Russia of arming pro-Russian separatists who control part of the east of the country, and of backing up the separatist groups with Russian military forces.
Vukojevic was appointed last year as a scout for Dynamo after a lengthy playing career which included being part of the Croatian squad for the 2014 World Cup.
FIFA can fine or suspend players for political gestures at the World Cup. Three Swiss players were fined for making hand gestures referencing the Albanian flag during a 2-1 win over Serbia in the group stage.
Croatia faces England on Wednesday in the country’s first World Cup semifinal game since 1998.
Source:: Sportsnet.ca – Sports news