ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia has rejected a warning from UEFA that fan violence and racism could lead to its teams being banned from international competitions.
Croatia said the same problems are rife throughout Europe. Its sports ministers and police said Monday that the governing body should concentrate more on its own corruption and betting scandals than criticizing the Balkan country.
UEFA President Michel Platini sent warning letters to the Croatian and Serbian prime minister stating that both Balkan countries are on "yellow cards" because of their notorious fans.
Platini has twice in two years warned Serbian and Croatian political leaders that their national and club teams face suspension if they don't act to curb the problem. Neighboring Serbia has said it will do all it can to curb hooliganism at stadiums.
Croatia's ministers said in a statement that Platini's missive to the prime minister is diplomatically "inappropriate," adding that the dangers at its stadiums are no worse than the rest of Europe.
Croatia and Serbia meet in a World Cup qualifier March 22 in Zagreb, Croatia.