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Euro 2012: Croatia manager Slaven Bilic says racist fans must be punished

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has condemned the racist behaviour that led UEFA to opening disciplinary proceedings against his country's football federation and hopes the problem can be stamped out once and for all.

UEFA on Saturday announced they were taking action against the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) over racist chanting by their fans during last Thursday's Euro 2012 Group C clash with Italy in Poznan.

Press Association Sport understands claims a banana was thrown on to the field in Poznan were taken into account, as was the displaying of racist banners at the Municipal Stadium. UEFA will deal with the case tomorrow.

Speaking ahead of his side's final Group C game against Spain tonight, Bilic said: "It (racism) is a big problem all around Europe and all around the world and on behalf of the entire nation, not even as a football manager, I want to say that I am really disappointed as a Croatian, a parent, and a sportsman, a person who comes from a modern, open-minded and tolerant state.

"Everyone is welcome in our county. I don't like these kinds of supporters and nor do my players. I don't want them to come into the stadium.

"I live in Croatia and we really are a tolerant county. We are not a racist country and we are angry at these few crazy supporters. We have to put sanctions on these kind of supporters and stop them forever."

Belfast Telegraph