World Cup: Croatian player banned from 2014 World Cup in Brazil for fascist salute
The World Cup is still six months away, but at least one player already knows he'll be missing out.
FIFA on Monday effectively banned Croatian defender Josip Simunic from the tournament in response to his "discriminatory behavior" following the second leg of Croatia's qualifying playoff vs. Iceland on Nov. 19 that saw them book a place in Brazil with a 2-0 win.
World soccer's governing body handed Simunic (above) a 10-game ban from official matches and fined him 30,000 swiss francs (approx. US $33,810) for shouting -- in conjunction with the crowd -- a Croatian salute that was used during World War II by the fascist "Ustaše" movement.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee determined that the salute was, according to a FIFA statement, "discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning, inter alia, race, religion or origin, in a clear breach of article 58 par. 1a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
"After taking into account all of the circumstances of the case, and particularly given the gravity of the incident, the committee decided to suspend the player for ten official matches."
The ban will start in Croatia's opening match of the tournament, against hosts Brazil, and will be served throughout the rest of the tournament and then in future official matches.
Along with Brazil, Croatia is in Group A with Mexico and Cameroon.