July 11 – FIFA is investigating a new video of Croatia defender Domagoj Vida’s comments in the wake of his side’s quarterfinal World Cup victory over Russia.
FIFA has already issued a warning to Vida for proclaiming “glory to Ukraine”, a phrase that continues to be used by many Ukrainians against Russia following the 2014 revolution that drove Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president from power. It has also been used against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Croatia team trainer Ognjen Vukojevic, who was heard shouting the same thing shortly after the game, has reportedly since been sent home.
FIFA outlaws political statements and the first video drew widespread criticism in Russia. Vida, who scored an extra time goal against Russia and then converted a penalty in the shootout, later apologised.
But in the latest clip, he can also be heard to say “Belgrade burn”.
Former Croatia and Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic, now a member of the Croatia’s World Cup training staff, can apparently be seen in the video sitting next to Vida.
A harsher punishment would be expected from FIFA should the new investigation find Vida guilty of breaching its rules on political statements.
Reports in Serbian media somewhat fancifully have suggested that Vida may not have been referring to the Serbian capital but instead to a pub called ‘Belgrade’ in Kiev – where he used to play – and that instead of wishing it to burn, was in fact encouraging its owner to have a party.
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