Ognjen Vukojevic has been sacked by the Croatian Football Federation for publishing a politically-charged video on social media following the penalty shootout win over Russia, just days before the World Cup semi-final against England.
Former Croatia international Vukojevic, who had been working as a coaching assistant, recorded a video with defender Domagoj Vida after the game in which both men dedicated the Croatia’s victory to Ukraine – a clear reference to the country’s long-running political conflict with Russia that centres on the disputed territory of Crimea.
In a video posted to Facebook and subsequently uploaded to YouTube, Vida shouted “Glory to Ukraine!”, a chant widely used during the 2014 revolution that drove Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych from power and since adopted by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, while Vukojevic added: “This victory is for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine.”
Their comments sparked a backlash in Russia and Vida was warned by Fifa, but the Croatian Football Federation has now confirmed that it has severed ties with Vukojevic over the matter.
“The Croatian Football Federation hereby notifies the public that Ognjen Vukojevic has been relieved of his duties as an associate of the coaching staff of the Croatian national team by decision of the management of the Croatian FA, and that he will no longer be a member of the Croatian delegation at the FIFA World Cup in Russia,” the organisation said in a statement.