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Veteran Croatia Defender Josip Simunic Banned From World Cup Over ‘Pro-Nazi’ Chant

By Chris Wright

Croatia Scotland WCup Soccer

FIFA have effectively banned Croatian international Josip Simunic from playing at the World Cup after giving the veteran centre-back a 10-game ban for leading a section of fans in a chant with pro-Nazi connotations after Croatia beat Iceland in their World Cup play-off tie to reach Brazil 2014.

After the 2-0 victory in Zagreb, Simunic, 35, commandeered a microphone and led the home fans over the stadium PA system, shouting “For the homeland” to which the supporters replied “Ready!” – a chant associated with supporters of the Ustashe: the fascist regime that ruled Croatia during WWII, before being banned in 1945.

For what it’s worth, Australian-born Simunic has denied that he used the chant with any political intent, issuing a statement at the time which read:

“Even the thought that someone could put me in the context of incitement of hatred or violence is horrible.

“As a Croatian who was born and grew up outside my homeland, I associate home with love, warmth and positive struggle – everything that we showed on the pitch to win our place in the World Cup.”

However, after an investigation into the incident, FIFA have this morning announced that Simunic has been found guilty of “discriminatory behaviour” and fined to the tune of £20,000. He has also been banned from international football for 10 games – the first of which being Croatia’s opening World Cup fixture against hosts Brazil in Sao Paulo.

Simunic has also been banned from entering the confines of the stadium for all ten of the matches in question, so he won’t even be able to sit in the stands.

Aaaaaand, this is why footballers shouldn’t talk in public…ever. Good to see FIFA finally taking a firm stance on racism offences, whether unwitting or otherwise.

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By Chris on December 17th, 2013 in FAIL, International football, Newsnow, World Cup. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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19 Responses to “Veteran Croatia Defender Josip Simunic Banned From World Cup Over ‘Pro-Nazi’ Chant”

  1. Anthony says:

    IT’S NOT FUCKING RACIST. The origin of the term stems from Nikola Subic Zrinjski’s opea sung in the 18th century. Sure the Ustase used a modified version of the chant (which was not what Simunic said) but I fail to see the connection? Bosnic and Di Canio did worse and were given smaller sentences…

    • mario says:

      I like 19th Zrinjsk version “for home ready” better than their Nazi “For the Leader and home(land) ready” version. In 1566, small force of Croatian (2,300 soldiers) heroically defended the little fortress of Szigetvár against the whole Ottoman host (102,000 soldiers), led by Suleiman the Magnificent in person. The Battle of Szigetvár ended with Zrinski perishing with every member of the garrison in a last desperate counter attack.

      Zrinski prepared for a last charge addressing his troops: Zrinski shouted “for home” his soldiers responded “ready” then Zrinski gave his speech: “Let us go out from this burning place into the open and stand up to our enemies. Who dies – he will be with God. Who dies not – his name will be honoured. I will go first, and what I do, you do. And God is my witness – I will never leave you, my brothers and knights!” after that Zrinjsk lifted his sword shouted “”for home” response from all was “ready” and then everyone charged out to their death.

  2. Ryan says:

    I’m going to fan flames of conspiracy and say this is a bs charge. Obviously he did what he was charged with but I do not believe he knew the political history behind the chant. Brazil are a bit shakie, Josip is one of Croatia’s best defenders…… This ban is FIFA’s way of helping to make sure Brazil do not embarrass themselves in the opening match and to help them get out of the group stages. Look at the social chaos that is associated with their leagues right now, can you imagine what will happen if Brazil don’t make it out of the group stages?

    • mario says:

      Ryan-I agree with you when I read what you wrote, just by how the story quickly spread across the media. They “FIFA and media”had to know that everyone I Croatia knows the history of Zrinjsk and his words:
      “for home ready” not some stupid Nazi version ” homeland” ore”For the Leader and home(land) ready” What he did not say. I can twist every famous quote, as “The British are coming, the British are coming”? I can say it means “Take your guns folks and kill all British…and who knows what kind of nonsense some can come up with!!!

  3. Rockin Rio says:

    Conspiracy!

  4. Al says:

    It does seem a bit harsh and I have to disagree that it was racist, if the song wasn’t originally intened as racist and merely adopted by some facists then you can’t say the song that the general singing of the song is racist. If a group of facist fans started using you’ll never walk alone as their song would Liverpool fans then be bannd for using it and if they did be deemed racists? No

  5. Fernando says:

    Fuck him, this chant was used in world war 2 as a battle cry. It was used by the fascist nazi punks of Croatia and he damn right knows what it means. Fuck this prick and the rest of the ustasa admirers

  6. Straight Dave says:

    Well, I did Nazi this coming.

  7. fcrs1991 says:

    Guys, this goes beyond racism. Simunic knew exactly what he was saying, so did all of Croatia (the normal half people of Croatia actually publicly condemned him for the chants). The only reason the chant is popular is because it was used by the Nazi Ustashe during WWII, and is still being used today by extremists and Pro-Nazi groups in Croatia.
    I wouldnt play this off as a conspiracy just because you dont understand the magnitude of Joe’s actions.
    It’s as if the Germans were chanting Zieg-Heil at Wembley and then saying that they weren’t aware it was wrong.

  8. Jimjam says:

    @ Straight Dave – Champion!

    I feel for Simunic in a way, but he had to have known the history and connotations of what he was singing/saying. We all have to be very careful with what we say, because, like it or not, words,songs, chants and metaphors can inform feelings and perceptions. I would expect punishment for using a metaphor or a song that racialized a group of people or espoused the desire for ‘purity’ in the ‘homeland’.

    With all that being said.
    Fuck Nations/States – these are imaginary constructs that obscure our (people, animals, beings) collective and intractable suffering while playing on the difference in our diversity as if difference was something to be shunned not celebrated. I’de like to believe that we can think and be beyond the ideas of national boundaries, ethnicities, and humanism.

  9. Petrovsky KSC says:

    so comrades, come rally… sorry, no political connotation here. just a few words randomly put in a row.

  10. Bear says:

    Just because a fascist group has coopted a chant as their own does not excuse one for using it. If it were Simunic using it in celebration solely for himself and without the compliance of a multitude of fans who most certainly know its history, then I might be inclined to believe him. Surely he can think of another chant to rally crowd support that would not elicit criticism?

    If a group of fascists adopted YNWA as their anthem, Liverpool fans would either protest against it or find another way to express their support. Poor example nonetheless.

  11. jeremy says:

    yeah, yeah, yeah… i see a lot of ustashe jugend here. well, sod off!
    šimunić is a bloody idiot and he knew exactly what he was chanting about. he’s not a clueless child, ffs. if you are openly showing your nazi bs ideology, then be a man and admit it publicly! don’t hide behind your “love for homeland” or whatever his excuse was.
    10 games ban? make it 100! as an example for other idiots like him.

  12. Steve-o says:

    There is a photographer two feet in front of him the whole time taking pictures of every step he takes. Maybe he really didn’t know what he was saying was Ustashe gibberish. Or, maybe he really is just that stupid.

    Now, where’d I put my Occam’s razor?

  13. squiggle says:

    @Al

    “if the song wasn’t originally intened as racist and merely adopted by some facists then you can’t say the song that the general singing of the song is racist.”

    You could say something similar about the swastika, though, and I’d be pretty wary of any player claiming to use it to invoke Lakshmi.

  14. stinky joe says:

    Good on you Joey, you evoked the passion stirring through my veins. Croatia’s should get rid of all ethnic minorities in Croatia and then join with the Germans to take over Europe, starting with the English

  15. Patrick says:

    @squiggle is right in his correction of @Al and @Anthony.

    Words and ideas are not static things that mean and have meant the same thing forever. Your initial history of where the song originated may be accurate. But you cannot freeze it in time. The Nazis then took the song in the 20th century and imbued it with ADDITIONAL meaning that is certainly racist. Given the unspeakable evil of the Nazi regime, the 10 game ban seems lax.

  16. [...] Originally Posted by Airtank Whats wrong with a little bit of name calling ffs … TBH, I don't disagree … Cricket a rugby seem to be happy wit the levels of sledging involved … FIFA don't take racism very seriously ( They fined Citeh twice as much for arriving late on the pitch as they did CSKA Moscow for racist chanting) But I'm not convinced that any politics, including Alex Salmond waving the saltire, have any place in sport. I maybe the only one, but I was very happy to see the Croatian dickhead, who lead the fans in facist chanting , banned …. Veteran Croatia Defender Josip Simunic Banned From World Cup Over ?Pro-Nazi? Chant | Who Ate all the… [...]

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