Poland, Jun19: UEFA fined Croatia's football association ¤80,000 ($101,000) on Tuesday after fans racially abused Italy forward Mario Balotelli at a European Championship match.
The charges related to “the setting-off and throwing of fireworks, and the improper conduct of supporters (racist chants, racist symbols),” UEFA said in a statement.
The fine is ¤20,000 ($25,000) less than the UEFA disciplinary panel ordered Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner to pay one day earlier for revealing a sponsor's name on his underpants.
UEFA received reports from stadium monitors that 300 Croatia fans made monkey noises at Balotelli, who is black, during a 1-1 draw in Poznan last Thursday.
Croatia's case was the first formal racism charge prosecuted by UEFA at Euro 2012 after lacking evidence in previous reported incidents.
Croatia was eliminated from the tournament Monday, with Spain and Italy advancing to the quarterfinals from its group.
Earlier Monday, UEFA President Michel Platini said he was “not happy with the Croatian people.” Platini described the atmosphere at Euro 2012 stadiums as “99 percent great. The people who come to the stadiums, they were nice, except some Croatians.”
The Croatia association was also fined ¤25,000 ($31,500) last week for its fans' behavior at an earlier match against Ireland. UEFA said that sanction was imposed for “the setting off and throwing of fireworks and missiles, and a pitch invasion by a supporter.”
Croatia games against Ireland and Italy were both delayed to clear fireworks and smoke from the pitch after Croatia scored.
Bendtner was fined ¤100,000 ($126,000) for his ambush marketing stunt to promote a gambling firm. The sum is the maximum an individual can pay under UEFA disciplinary rules.
Bendtner said Monday he would appeal the sanction. The Danish football association warned him not to contact or take money from the gambling firm which has offered to pay the fine after receiving several days of worldwide exposure for its brand.
National associations can be fined up to ¤1 million ($1.26 million) by UEFA.
Last week, Russia's football association was fined ¤120,000 ($151,000) after fans attacked stadium stewards in Wroclaw after a Euro 2012 match.
UEFA rules make national bodies responsible for their fans' behavior. Punishments range from warnings and a sliding scale of fines to points deductions and even expulsion from competitions.
Platini urged Croatian political and football leaders in Zagreb last year to pass laws helping control problem fans, or face national and club teams being suspended from European competitions.
Four years ago, UEFA fined Croatia 20,000 Swiss francs (then $19,600; ¤12,450) for its fans' neo-Nazi flags and chants during a Euro 2008 quarterfinals loss against Turkey in Vienna, Austria.
Also in 2008, FIFA fined the Croatia federation 30,000 Swiss francs (then $27,700; ¤18,800) after fans directed racist chants at England forward Emile Heskey during a World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic defended his country's image on Sunday after UEFA announced the racism charge.
“We are not a racist country and that's why we are so angry with these couple of crazy supporters,” Bilic said.