Former Croatian International Ognjen Vukojevic has been axed by the Semi-finalists of the World Cup as they prepare to take on England. The Croatian football association released a statement on Monday saying Vulojevic has been “relieved from his duties as an expert associate of the Croatia squad and is no longer a member of the Croatian delegation at the World Cup”.
The sacking was in response to Vukojevic posting a video on Instagram with Croatia’s Quarter Final hero Domagoj Vida, shouting “Glory to Ukraine!”. Both Vida and Vukojevic played for Dinamo Kiev and shouted the politically charged phrase as Vukojevic added “This victory is for Dynamo (Kiev) and for Ukraine! Croatia onwards!”
The clip was picked up by Russian state media and drew condemnation from some officials. FIFA, which bans political statements at World Cup matches, said Sunday it had studied the video and decided to issue a warning to Vida.
The Croatian football federation apologised to the Russian public for the “move by a Croatian delegation member.”
In a statement, it said Vukojevic and Vida “also apologise for statements which were not intended to have political connotations but left space for such interpretation,” the statement said
This isn’t going to go down well with Russian fans. After #RUSCRO, Ognjen Vukojević and Domagoj Vida celebrate with a “Slava Ukrayini” video message and dedicate the victory to Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/UePKTdbFVJ
— Dario Brentin (@DarioBrentin) July 8, 2018
FIFA later announced it had fined Vukojevic $15,000 and issued him with a warning over unsporting behaviour.