Football: Croatia PM condemns racist fans
(ZAGREB) - Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic condemned on Wednesday racist behaviour by some of the country's fans at the Euro 2012, saying such moves "harm" the Balkan state's tourism-oriented reputation.
"Public safety and the reputation of the state, especially a tourist one, is something that has a real and symbolic value. Those who prostitute that harm Croatia," Milanovic said at a government's session.
Earlier Wednesday, UEFA said that it was bringing fresh disciplinary proceedings against Croatia after "racist banners and symbols" were seen at the country's final group match against defending champions Spain.
The case comes a day after European football's governing body fined the Croatian Football Federation 80,000 euros ($100,000, 64,500 pounds) after its supporters racially abused Italy's Mario Balotelli when the countries met on June 15.
Milanovic warned that Croatia could not use as an "alibi" a fact that only a "handful of supporters" were involved in such behaviour.
"Those who do that are not only chauvinists and members of the extreme right but also the ones who want to damage Croatia and the state itself," he said, insisting that the country should be a "normal, nice and open" one.
Croatia, which attracts some 10 million foreign tourists annualy, mostly on its Adriatic coast, counts on tourism income for between 15 to 20 percent to its GDP.
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