Croatian FA hits out at supporters responsible for alleged Balotelli abuse

After claims of racist chanting by fans during the draw with Italy, the governing body has answered to Uefa charges and appealed for leniency after already being fined
Croatia's Football Federation has responded to Uefa’s charge over alleged racist chanting, branding those responsible "deviant supporters".

The charges relate to Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Italy, when it is claimed that fans hurled racist abuse at Azzurri striker Mario Balotelli.

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) issued a statement on Saturday after hearing of the charges, and was keen to speak out against those responsible.

The statement said: "[The] Croatian Football Federation distances itself from all deviant behaviour of the part of the fans during the final tournament of Uefa Euro 2012 and strongly condemns it.

"[The] Croatian Football Federation, its national team players and members of the technical staff support all UEFA activities aimed at identifying individuals whose behaviour damages the reputation of the competition, no matter which country they come from."

The HNS was fined €25,000 on Friday after fans let off fireworks and a supporter ran onto the pitch during their 3-1 win over Republic of Ireland, and the statement also urges Uefa to spare them further punishment.

The statement continued: "[The] Croatian Football Federation appeals to Uefa not to punish the Croatian national team, which is for a number of years at the top of world football because of its performances and behaviour, both on and off the field of play, and not to associate it with the part of the fans who actually are not supporters, but hooligans which should be isolated from all sports events."