HNS Executive Committee official statement

Crime and punishment


Crime and punishment
Photo by: Drago Sopta/HNS

Croatian Football Federation, Croatian national football team, Croatian internationals, Croatian football, Croatian fans, and Croatian state have all been disgraced once again at the European stage by a group of hooligans that hold nothing Croatian sacred, and that have ruined a beautiful football festival in Saint-Etienne.

Croatian Football Federation would like to thank all true Croatian fans, over 10,000 of them in Saint-Etienne, for the fantastic support to our Vatreni from the first to the last minute of the Czech Republic encounter. It should be noted that this group has maybe for the first time said a decisive "NO" to violence, flares, intolerance, and discrimination, booing any hooligan attempt to interrupt the match by inappropriate behaviour or chants.

Simultaneously, Croatia national football team has put in another excellent performance, establishing itself as one of the best teams at the EURO 2016. 

These fans and these players, considering the great atmosphere the national team has generated in Croatia, make it even more difficult to accept that a small group of hooligans have stolen joy from Croatian fans and Croatian team. 

Croatian Football Federation would like to apologize to the spectators at Saint-Etienne, to the television audience, and the Czech Republic national football team, for the behaviour of the hooligans who do not represent Croatian fans, but represent a responsibility of all us in Croatia. Once again, HNS strongly condemns all illegal behaviour in the stands, from racism to discrimination and violence.

Preparing this match, HNS has done everything in its power to prevent the incidents, and warned UEFA and French police about the hooligans' intentions to interrupt the match.

This is not the first event to appall Croatian public. However, the inefficiency, inactivity, and the lack of desire from the government institutions to start dealing with this issue has encouraged the hooligans to continue with their actions. The Saint-Etienne incident is the product of the passivity of the Croatian state, and today we have all become hostages of a group of hooligans. We can both rejoice and grieve at the fact that the other fans in Saint-Etienne have reacted to the long-term hooligan torture, lacking any kind of state reaction. Are these fans, families with children, supposed to deal with the problem of the hooligans?

Or is the state ready for some specific reactions? 

Unfortunately, previous experience has presented an illogical relation between crime and punishment.

Criminals - persons chanting racist slogans at stadiums, persons making swastikas at pitches, persons throwing flares in Milan, persons physically abusing HNS delegation, persons disgracing the country throughout Europe by violence, discrimination, and intolerance - remain unidentified or unpunished. 

On the other hand, punished are those who have no means to prevent the riots of this group of hooligans. HNS and the clubs are being heavily fined, punished are the players when they are performing at their best, as was the case in Milan or Saint-Etienne, since the hooligans interrupt their matches, punished are the 99 percent of extraordinary Croatian fans, by being unable to attend Croatia national football team matches. 

Therefore, we appeal to the Croatian government, and UEFA as well, to join us in the fight against the hooligans, to finally eradicate this evil that wants to cast a shadow over everything the Vatreni present on the field of play.

Let us start punishing those guilty of a crime, not the victims.

This incident will not weaken Croatia national football team, even more determined to achieve an excellent result at EURO 2016, flying on the wings of unity created in Croatia. Thank you for your support and condemnation of this hooligans' incident.

Croatian Football Federation Executive Committee


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