Croatia fined over racist chants
WARSAW, Poland (AP)
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Croatia have been fined £64,561 after their fans were found guilty of racially abusing Mario Balotelli during their Euro 2012 clash with Italy.
The punishment, which was also dished out for the setting off and throwing of fireworks, was the first for a racially-aggravated offence at a tournament which has been marred by the problem.
According to official observers, Italy striker Balotelli was subjected to monkey chants by between 300 and 500 Croatia fans during Thursday's 1-1 Group B draw in Poznan.
There were also accusations of a banana being thrown onto the pitch at the Municipal Stadium.
UEFA said in a statement: "The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has been fined 80,000 euros 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 14 June.
"An appeal can be lodged against this decision within three days of the dispatch of the reasoned decision."
Tuesday's fine was one of the biggest UEFA had ever handed out for a racism-related incident.
However, they have already been criticised for taking even more draconian action against Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner during Euro 2012 after he revealed a sponsored pair of underwear, something that earned him a one-match ban and 100,000-euro fine.
A second offence for the setting-off and throwing of fireworks at Euro 2012 was also likely to have accounted for a sizeable chunk of Tuesday's fine.
The HNS had already been docked 25,000 euro (£20,169) for such incidents, and the invasion of the pitch by a supporter, during Sunday's win over Republic of Ireland.
They were also fined £14,920 by FIFA just under four years ago after then England striker Emile Heskey was subjected to monkey chants in a World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.
And they were given a small fine during Euro 2008 for racist abuse from their fans during their game against Turkey.