Croatian supporters’ abuse of Milan Borjan during the recent FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture between Croatia and Canada is utterly deplorable. This behavior should not be tolerated under any circumstances, and those responsible must be held accountable.
It is shocking that in this day and age, such blatant racism still exists. Milan Borjan is a professional goalkeeper who did his job when subjected to vile insults from Croatian fans. These individuals have no respect for other human beings, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity.
FIFA fined the Croatian Football Federation over 50,000 Swiss France (€53,000) on Wednesday after supporters of the team were found to have verbally abused Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan during a Nations League match last month. The abuse took place in Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar 2022.
He was born in Croatia but fleeing as a child during the 1995 Croatian War of Independence, he and his family left their home – situated in an ethnic Serbian region – when Croatian forces took it. Forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution, they became refugees seeking refuge in other parts of Croatia.
Roughly 200,000 ethnic Serbs fled the nation during and after the operation, dubbed “Operation Storm.” Many of them used tractors to make the journey.
Croatian supporters flew John Deere flags during their 4-1 victory, with one banner reading “Nothing runs like Borjan” in place of the company’s original tagline.
Inappropriate words and objects at a sports event can often lead to negative implications, as seen recently in the case of Croatia and FIFA. Article 16 of FIFA’s disciplinary code prohibits using words or objects that are inappropriate for sporting events, with punishments including fines to match bans.
This provision is in place to protect the sanctity of sports and ensure that all athletes conduct themselves appropriately during games.
Croatian or Canadian football authorities, or Borjan himself, did not immediately react to FIFA’s announcement.
The sanction from the governing body came barely 48 hours before Croatia’s quarterfinal match with Brazil on Friday. Canada was knocked out of the competition in the group stage.