UEFA in spotlight over fines

PA Sport
Nicklas Bendtner received a substantial fine and a suspension for displayig his branded boxers
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Nicklas Bendtner received a substantial fine and a suspension for displayig his branded boxers

UEFA have come under the spotlight after Croatia were fined less for monkey chants at Mario Balotelli than Nicklas Bendtner was for displaying a sponsored pair of underpants.

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) were docked 80,000 euros (£64,561) for offences which included the racist abuse of Italy striker Balotelli by between 300 and 500 of the country's fans during Thursday's Group C game in Poznan, which was also dogged by accusations a banana had been thrown onto the field.

That fine was one of the biggest imposed by European football's governing body for racism-related incidents but it was still significantly lower than the 100,000-euro (£80,524) punishment and one-match ban dished out to Denmark striker Bendtner 24 hours earlier.

Critics of the decision pointed out on Monday that UEFA had taken more draconian action against Bendtner than they had over several racist incidents down the years.

Those arguments carried even more weight on the back of yesterday's decision when considering that Croatia's fine - which they were given three days to appeal once they receive the written judgment - was not only for racist abuse.

The HNS were also punished for fans setting off and throwing fireworks for a second time at Euro 2012. They had already been docked 25,000 euros (£20,131) for that - and the invasion of the pitch by a supporter - during Sunday's win over Republic of Ireland.

Germany, meanwhile, were the latest team to face punishment for the extremist behaviour of their fans when action was taken over the display of a neo-Nazi banner during their Group B win over Denmark on Sunday.

The FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network, who have been working with UEFA to monitor crowd problems at Euro 2012, posted on their official Twitter account: "FARE can confirm that one of our observers reported a neo-nazi banner in the German section at the match v Denmark in Lviv on Sunday."

Disciplinary proceedings were opened against the German Football Association (DFB) for the "display of inappropriate banners and symbols, and inappropriate chanting".

The DFB was also charged with the setting-off of fireworks, having already been fined 10,000 euros (just over £8,000) after their fans threw screwed up pieces of paper at Portugal players during their opening group game. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body will deal with the latest case on Saturday.

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