Domagoj Vida will feature in Croatia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup semIfinal clash against England. Earlier, it was assumed that the centre-back will be suspended following the comments he made post Croatia’s quarterfinal victory over hosts Russia. FIFA's disciplinary committee has warned Vida over his video statement. Vida appeared alongside former Croatia international and his FC Dynamo Kiev teammate Ognjen Vukojevic and was heard saying, “Glory to Ukraine.” Vukojevic also was heard saying “this victory is for Dynamo and Ukraine,” in the video which apparently went viral on the social media sites. The phrase is often used by Ukrainian anti-Russian nationalists, as reported by Goal.com and that’s what caused the stir.
As per FIFA’s disciplinary code, political slogans are banned from the game while Section 54 states that: “Anyone who provokes the general public during a match will be suspended for two matches and sanctioned with a minimum fine of CHF 5,000 (£3,800).” Croatia Beat Russia on Penalties to Reach 2018 World Cup Semi-finals.
FIFA later confirmed that Vida will not be punished and was given a warning. "We can confirm that FIFA's disciplinary committee has sent a warning to the player Domagoj Vida due to his video statement following the 2018 World Cup match between Russia and Croatia," said a FIFA statement.
Here's the video:
Croatian defenseman Vida yells “Glory to Ukraine” after last night’s victory over Russia. Later called it a joke. https://t.co/0yQKy0JE1l
— Andrew Roth (@Andrew__Roth) July 8, 2018
Meanwhile, Vida has said the comment was just a “joke”. “This victory is for Croatia. No politics. It’s a joke. I’ve got friends there since I joined Dynamo Kyiv, I didn’t mean anything else. I don’t why Russian fans might not get it. I like Russian people. It was just a joke,” Vida was quoted as saying by The Independent.
Croatia qualified for semi-final after defeating home side Russia 4-3 on penalties. They now take on England with the winner heading to the final. France and Belgium are the other two semi-finalists.