Croatian soccer fans’ march in Milan outrages Israel

Israel is shocked over the march of the professional Croatian soccer club, Dinamo Zagreb, in Milan, but the incident has not yet drawn other official reactions.

Hundreds of Bad Blue Boys, fans of the professional Croatian soccer club Dinamo Zagreb were marching through the streets of Milan, Italy, throwing Nazi salutes during the UEFA Champions League match between Croatia’s Dinamo and Italy’s Milan on Wednesday, September 15.

Israel’s ambassador to Croatia, Ilan Mor, condemned the incident in a Twitter post. “Horrible and totally unacceptable!! This is totally against the basic values of football!!”

However, when the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), a network of non-governmental organisations promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values in Southern and Eastern Europe, asked FC Dinamo’s administration to comment, it received no response by Thursday afternoon. UEFA, the umbrella organisation of European football associations, did not respond either. 

Numerous other incidents around the match were reported in local Italian media, including one about a Dinamo supporter being stabbed.

In Croatia, hate speech has deep roots among hardcore football fan groups. Violence is often directed towards Serbs, and fans often show sympathy for the Fascist Ustasa movement, which ruled Croatia under Nazi Germany.