World Cup: FIFA launch investigation into Croatian fans after Canadian goalkeeper was subjected to abusive banners

FIFA is launching an investigation into the behavior of Croatian fans after Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan was the victim of abusive banners, songs and verbal abuse during Sunday’s World Cup defeat – while his number phone was leaked online

FIFA disciplinary officials have opened investigations into the behavior of some Croatian fans and the abuse they inflicted on Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan during their Group F match on Sunday.

Borjan was targeted with banners, chants and a tirade of verbal insults based on his ethnicity in a 4-1 defeat, which condemned the Canadians to a World Cup exit after the group stage.

The 35-year-old, who plays for Red Star Belgrade, also revealed his phone number was leaked online, resulting in hundreds of insulting and abusive messages.

Borjan is of Serbian descent, born in what is now Croatia when it was still a unified Yugoslavia and forced to flee as a child with his family in 1995 during the Balkan Wars. They then moved to Canada, where he launched his football career.

He said the Croatian players showed their support after the final whistle and he had the dignity to wish them luck in the competition.

Canada, having lost its first two games, cannot qualify for the round of 16 and will return home after its last game against Morocco.

FIFA has launched an investigation into the behavior of Croatian fans after Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan (above) was the target of abusive banners, songs and verbal abuse during their 4-1 defeat on Sunday

Serbian-born Borjan was forced to flee a town called Knin as a child during the Balkan Wars - referenced by some supporters in a poster (pictured above) during the fiery clash

Serbian-born Borjan was forced to flee a town called Knin as a child during the Balkan Wars – referenced by some supporters in a poster (pictured above) during the fiery clash

FIFA said on Tuesday: “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Croatian Football Federation due to the behavior of its fans during the FIFA World Cup match Croatia against Canada played on 27 november.

“The procedure was initiated on the basis of Articles 13 and 16 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.”

Articles 13 and 16 concern possible fines and sanctions, in particular playing behind closed doors and in neutral territory.

Croatia have already been victimized by FIFA for the behavior of their fans, including in a UEFA Nations League group game against England which was ordered to be played behind closed doors after a swastika was printed on the turf before a game against Italy in Split.

John Herdman's Canada were eliminated after their second consecutive defeat at the tournament

John Herdman’s Canada were eliminated after their second consecutive defeat at the tournament

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