JUNE 13 2015 15:48h
The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president Davor Suker on Saturday condemned an incident involving the appearance of a swastika symbol on the turf of the Split stadium during a European qualifier between Croatia and Italy on Friday evening.
I hope that hooligans will no succeed and we insist on the protection of the Croatian national team, the HNS, the City of Split and Croatia as well as football against hooliganism, the outraged Suker said at an extraordinary news conference in the biggest Croatian coastal city.
Suker said that the HNS leadership would convene on Monday to consider its decision whether Split can host Croatia's qualifier against Bulgaria in October.
Suker called on law enforcement authorities as well as other authorities to be engaged in efforts to investigate the incident.
The police are already probing the incident and have pressed charges against unidentified perpetrators.
Croatian Football Federation press officer Tomislav Pacak gave an official statement in which he apologized to "all viewers, our guests from Italy and the players from both teams, for the Nazi symbol on the Poljud Stadium grass."
"Technically speaking, a chemical agent was used on the field 24 to 48 hours before the kick-off, timed to be visible during the qualifying match. During the halftime, we have tried to remedy the situation to the best of our abilities, given the short amount of time," according to Pacek's press release sent to media outlets.
The Croatian federation immediately notified UEFA of the incident.
"This was an obvious act of sabotage and a criminal act. We condemn it and ask the police and judicial bodies to find the person(s) responsible for what is a shame not only for Croatian football, but the entire country."
"Once again, we express regret and condemn this act, and we apologize to all the viewers, guests and players from both teams," Pacek said in his statement.
Split Mayor Ivo Baldasar today joined in the condemnation of the incident.