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FIFA hits Croatia with stadium ban as part of widespread homophobia sanctions

Croatia must play their first two World Cup qualifiers behind closed doors as a result of FIFA sanctions imposed on seven nations following discriminatory chants by fans.

FIFA has fined Croatia CHF150,000 for incidents which took place in friendly matches against Israel and Hungary last month and has also ordered them to play forthcoming games with Turkey and Finland behind closed doors The decision comes after they had previously been punished by both FIFA and UEFA.

Chile have been banned from playing at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago for two matches and fined CHF30,000 as a result of homophobic chants from supporters. The second suspension is suspended for a year.

Mexico, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador and Peru have also been fined for "discriminatory and unsporting conduct by fans, including homophobic chants in some instances".

"Following match reports and additional evidence generated by the Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System, FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the associations of Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Croatia," a FIFA statement released on Friday confirmed.

"Chile was sanctioned with a ban on playing at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago for two official matches and fined CHF30,000. The first suspension will be served at the next match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers between Chile and Bolivia, whereas the implementation of the second is suspended subject to a probation period of two years in application of art. 33 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC).

"The proceedings relate to homophobic chants by the team's fans and follow previous sanctions for similar incidents during the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

"Moreover, Mexico was fined a total of CHF35,000 for two cases while Honduras was fined CHF40,000, El Salvador CHF35,000, Paraguay CHF20,000 and Peru CHF15,000 for individual cases related to various incidents involving discriminatory and unsporting conduct by fans, including homophobic chants in some instances.

"In addition, Croatia was sanctioned to play its next two matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers – against Turkey on 5 September and Finland on 9 October 2016 – without spectators and fined a total of CHF150,000 for two cases of discriminatory chants by fans, which occurred at the friendly matches of Croatia v. Israel on 23 March 2016 and Hungary v. Croatia on 26 March 2016. The Croatian FA had already been sanctioned for similar incidents by FIFA and UEFA.

"Besides the monitoring and sanctions of potential incidents, FIFA has put in place a comprehensive strategy to tackle discrimination, which includes the FIFA Good Practice Guide on Diversity and Anti-Discrimination, training, awareness-raising and the support of member associations in developing robust educational and preventive measures."