FIFA is investigating a video of Croatia defender Domagoj Vida and former player Ognjen Vukojevic dedicating their penalty shootout win over Russia on Saturday to Ukraine.
In the video, which has been widely circulated on social media, Vida shouts “Glory to Ukraine” in Ukrainian and Vukojevic says “this victory is for Dynamo and for Ukraine” in Croatian.
Vida, who scored a header in extra time to give Croatia a 2-1 lead and a penalty in the shootout, and Vukojevic both played for Dynamo Kiev and the latter still works for the Ukrainian club as a scout.
“Glory to Ukraine” is the war cry of the Ukrainian army but has also become more widely associated with the simmering conflict on the country’s eastern border with Russia and in Crimea, which Russia has claimed since 2014, despite international condemnation.
In a statement, FIFA said it “is processing the different reports of the said match as well as potential evidence concerning the matter” but said it could not comment any further until it has “evaluated all information available”.
Section 54 of FIFA’s disciplinary code categorically bans political slogans and anyone “who provokes the general public during a match will be suspended for two matches and sanctioned with a minimum fine of 5,000 Swiss francs”, which is nearly £4,000.
This would rule the 29-year-old Vida out of Wednesday’s semi-final against England and end his tournament.
However, the video was taken after the match and the defender - who has been linked with moves from Turkish club Besiktas to several Premier League sides, including Liverpool - goes on to say he was only joking and “the victory is for Croatia, no politics”.
FIFA has also already set a precedent for not applying section 54 in this tournament by only fining Swiss trio Stephan Lichtsteiner, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka for their ‘Albanian eagle’ goal celebrations against Serbia in the group stage.