FIFA To Investigate Racial Taunts by Croatian Fans
FIFA, soccer's international governing body, says that they will formally investigate charges of racist abuse by Croatian fans during last week's World Cup qualifier with England. The English Footbal Association filed a complaint after fans in Zagreb hurled racial taunts at England player Emile Heskey.
Heskey was singled out by sections of the Maksimir Stadium crowd after receiving a yellow card for a challenge on home skipper Niko Kovac.
The former Liverpool player claimed he tried to ignore the "ignorant people".
Wigan boss Steve Bruce said: "If you watched the game, you could hear monkey chants and all the rest of it, which I thought we'd seen the back of."
Croatia Football Federation spokesman Davor Gavran condemned those involved, but claimed the fans were showing their frustration.
He said: "There seemed rather an expression of frustration from fans at how the match is going on, than an attempt to insult someone. We condemn those individual cases."
It is not the first time Croatia's fans have been sanctioned for racist abuse, nor the first time Heskey has been a target.
Croatia were given a small fine during Euro 2008 for racist abuse from their fans during their game against Turkey.
Heskey has been racially abused while playing for England in Slovakia in 2002, while Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole were subjected to monkey chants in a friendly against Spain in Madrid in 2004.