Shortly after his Croatian side broke the hearts of the host country in a World Cup quarterfinal match, defender Domagoj Vida sparked an international incident by making pro-Ukraine comments in a Facebook video.
Vida, appearing with former national team member Ognjen Vukojevic, shouted, “glory to Ukraine,” an anti-Russian mantra made popular after the country’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Russian fans were not happy with the development, and took to the streets with anti-Croatia chants of their own.
Nothing like an international incident to spice up an already spicy tournament. FIFA has launched an investigation into the eight-second video. The issue?
Article 3 of FIFA’s disciplinary code, regarding improper conduct, prohibits “political slogans in any form” while Article 54 states: “Anyone who provokes the general public during a match will be suspended for two matches and sanctioned with a minimum fine of CHF 5,000 [$5,050].”
Vida said his comments were meant as a joke. Guess the “stick to sports” people will have a victory if the statement results in a suspension for the semifinals.