Sunday, June 29, 2008

Status Quo Ante (Pavelić)

As we wind down the Euro 2008 coverage here at Balkans via Bohemia, we must take note of the completely insufficient €12,500 fine levied against Croatia's supporters for disgraceful behavior during the team's loss to Turkey in the quarterfinals.

According to UEFA, a group of Croatian fans displayed a racist banner and chanted racist slogans during the match. Some Croatian fans already have a rep for doing this sort of repulsive thing on their soccer travels through Europe. Toss in the fact that a suspected war criminal from the Ustasa state, Milivoj Asner, who was stripped of Austrian citizenship but ducked extradition for trial on "health grounds" was photographed cavorting with Croatian fans during the tournament, and you've got some really ugly stuff.

It's not just Croatia, however. This sort of nonsense -- or, for instance, monkey chants directed at players (I'm looking at you, Crna Gora!) -- is only going to stop when the penalties are severe enough. FIFA and UEFA need to punish such behavior by assessing point deductions in qualifying for countries whose fans can't keep the fascism and racism out. Nations that harbor repeat offenders should be chucked out of the qualification process. I'd love to see Lichtenstein play San Marino if I don't have to see swastikas.

And oh, yeah, can someone tell Swiss television officials that when they play the German national anthem before a game, try using the modern words and not Deutschland über alles?

Photo of Adolf Hitler meeting Croatian Ustasa leader Ante Pavelić used under a GNU Free Documentation License Credit: USHMM (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), courtesy of Muzej Revolucije Narodnosti Jugoslavije

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