The racism issue that continues to darken the edges of an otherwise fantastic, high-scoring European Championship tournament may be moving into a new phase given Saturday’s announcement of a formal charge.
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, has formally charged Croatia of racism, opening a case against that country’s association after reports of fans making monkey chants toward Italian forward Mario Balotelli, who is black.
UEFA’s charges stem from Croatian supporters’ actions Thursday in Poznan, Poland; the incidents in question include “racist chants” and “racist symbols.” There were also fireworks thrown onto the field, briefly delaying the game at one point.
The displays of far-right flags and the monkey chants are the most serious accusations.
FARE executive director Piara Powar, who has unfortunately been heard from quite often during this tournament, told The Associated Press: “It was fairly consistent throughout the game. It was at its most intense as he was substituted and left the field.”
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