Ukraine FA offers job to Croatian coach sacked after win over Russian Federation

Rex Christensen
July 12, 2018

A video clip surfaced from the Croatian team's locker room after Saturday's Russia - Croatia quarterfinal match (2-2, 3-4 in a penalty shootout), showing Croatian defender Domagoj Vida shouting "Glory to Ukraine!" while a member of the Croatian team's delegation Ognjen Vukojevic said that he dedicates the victory to Ukraine.

Football's governing body already warned Vida after he made identical comments following his team's quarter-final win over Russian Federation.

Both Vida and Vukojevic, a former footballer of the Croatia team, played several years with Ukraine's Dynamo Kyiv.

It is against FIFA's rules and regulations that political symbols, statements or outbursts are to be used to bring football into disrepute, and his actions could have dire consequences for Vida if found guilty.

The comments are likely to have upset World Cup hosts Russian Federation amid tensions with Ukraine over Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and conflict in the Donbas region.

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The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) sought to limit the damage caused by the first video on Monday by apologising to the Russian public, adding in a statement: "Ognjen Vukojevic and Domagoj Vida likewise apologise for their statements, which were in no way meant to have political connotations, yet which unfortunately left room for such interpretations".

Vida claimed he had not intended any political message.

"There's no politics in football".

"We hold a clearly expressed position of supporting our friends", FFU president Andrei Paveloko told reporters. "I love Russians and I love Ukrainians".

The booing and whistles rang out each time Vida touched the ball in the semi-final against England, starting about 30 minutes into the first half.

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