HNS: Vukojević 'Relieved of Duties' for National Team After Pro-Ukraine Comments

Clyde Nash
July 10, 2018

Vida used to play for Dynamo Kiev and Vukojevic also played for the Ukrainian club and now works for them as a scout.

Vida, who scored in the match against Russia - which ended 2-2 after extra time - and netted in the resulting penalty shootout, later said of his comment in quotes reported by Russian outlet Championat: "I respect the Russian nation".

Croatia beat Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties in their World Cup quarter-final in Sochi on Saturday, after the scores finished level at 2-2 following extra-time.

"The Croatian Football Federation hereby notifies the public that Ognjen Vukojević has been relieved of his duties as an associate of the coaching staff of the Croatian national team by decision of the management of the Croatian FA, and that he will no longer be a member of the Croatian delegation at the FIFA World Cup in Russia".

Hosts Russia were defeated 4-3 on penalties by Croatia in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

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"I would never want to be a burden to the national team, especially not ahead of a match as monumental as the World Cup semi-final, when the team is most in need of a peaceful atmosphere", Vukojevic said.

"The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has chose to revoke Vukojevic's team accreditation at the FIFA World Cup and to relieve him of his duties as an observer for the Croatian national team, " Croatia Football Federation said according to the Independent UK.

Domagoj Vida says his pro-Ukraine comments in a social media video were not a "political message", with the Croatia defender having avoided a World Cup ban.

Vida has since apologized for his comments on the video, which went viral in Russian Federation. Football is outside politics.

On Sunday, Andrey Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian Football Federation, told Sport Express: "All Ukrainian patriots felt a bit Croatian last night".

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I think he's going to continue to be the best for many years and it'll always be a pleasure to see him play. As fate will have it, both players and their teams crashed out of the World Cup on the same day.

"However, I understand that my statements unfortunately could have been interpreted differently, for which I am sorry".

Croatia play England in the semifinals in Moscow on Wednesday.

During the group stage of the World Cup, FIFA fined three Switzerland players for making hand gestures of an "Albanian eagle" symbol to celebrate goals against Serbia and cleared them to continue playing. Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner was warned and fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,050) for joining in the celebration.

But the Federation went further than FIFA.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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