July 9, 2018 / 1:32 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer-Croatia's Football Federation sacks Vukojevic over Ukraine message

ZAGREB, July 9 (Reuters) - Croatia’s Football Federation (HNS) sacked Ognjen Vukojevic, a member of the national team’s coaching staff, over a “glory to Ukraine” video posted after Croatia beat Russia in the World Cup quarter-finals, HNS said in a statement on Monday.

Vukojevic and Croatia defender Domagoj Vida published the video on social media after the match on Saturday, which was criticised by Russian politicians and led to a warning from FIFA’s disciplinary committee.

Relations between Ukraine and World Cup hosts Russia remain fraught after the latter’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its backing for a pro-Russian uprising in the east of the country.

HNS said it has revoked Vukojevic’s team accreditation at the World Cup and relieved him of his duties as an observer for the Croatia squad.

“HNS hereby apologises to the Russian public for the actions of a member of the Croatian delegation,” it said.

It said that Vukojevic and Vida also apologised for their statements, saying they were not intended to be political messages but “unfortunately left room for such interpretations”.

Both Vukojevic and the 29-year-old Vida previously played for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev.

Croatia face England in the semi-finals of the tournament in Moscow on Wednesday. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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