Football

Published: Thursday July 24, 2014 MYT 8:34:47 PM
Updated: Thursday July 24, 2014 MYT 8:35:28 PM

Croatian FA to examine Man City racism claim

ZAGREB (Reuters) - The Croatian FA will examine claims of racism against Manchester City teenager Seko Fofana during a friendly Under-21 match against HNK Rijeka on Tuesday which was abandoned when City coach Patrick Vieira took his players off the pitch.

Fofana, a 19-year-old French midfielder, alleged he had been racially abused by Rijeka players after he was sent off towards the end of the first half of the match in Novigrad, western Croatia.

Vieira, the head of City's Elite Development squad, came on the pitch, spoke to the referee and led his team off.

The match was abandoned with Rijeka 1-0 ahead.

"We are in the process of gathering information regarding the alleged incident and if there are any decisions to be made we’ll make it public on our website," the Croatian FA (CFF) said in a statement on Thursday.

"CFF follows a strong ‘no racism’ policy so we take all accusations of racism very seriously. The fight against racism (and any sort of discrimination) is one of the key components of our president Davor Suker’s programme and that is why we will have a good look into this matter."

Rijeka strongly denied the claims on Wednesday when the coach of their youth team Ranko Buketa implied City walked off because their opponents were too strong for them.

UEFA, European football's governing body, which is not yet involved in the matter, has fined the Croatian FA for racism in the past, most notably at Euro 2012 when the country's fans racially abused Italian Mario Balotelli.

Croatian fans were also cited for displaying far-right flags and symbols at the World Cup in Brazil but were not fined by FIFA, world football's governing body.

(Writing by Mike Collett in London, reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic in Zagreb; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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