The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has made a controversial decision to neither fine nor suspend Croatian footballer Domagoj Vida who shouted a slogan in a selfie video made in Sochi after his team’s victory over the Russian team.
During a widely circulated video Domagoj Vida shouted a slogan that is deeply offensive to Russians and anti-fascists throughout the wider world. During the Great Patriotic War (Second World War), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) which collaborated with Hitler’s fascist regime popularised the phrase “Slava Ukrayini! Heroyam slava” (Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!). Since the 2014 fascist coup against the last legitimately elected Ukrainian government, the phrase’s popularity continues to grow among neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists who praise the crimes against humanity that the Kiev regime’s troops commit against the civilians of Donbass.
Therefore when Croatian footballer Domagoj Vida chanted “Slava Ukrayini” after a match with the Russian national team on Russian soil, many were upset with the fact that Vida decided to politicise what is intended to be an apolitical sporting event.
Later, Vida who was joined by his former teammate Ognjen Vukojevic issued an apology which read:
“This victory is for Croatia. No politics. It’s a joke. I’ve got friends there [in Ukraine] since Dinamo Kiev, I didn’t mean anything else. I don’t want to draw politics into sport. I love Russians, I love Ukrainians, I love Brazilians, I love everyone”.
When asked if he thought Russians would understand his “joke”, Vida responded that he thought they would. While to Vida, chanting a far-right anti-Russian slogan was a “joke” it was in reality a gruesome political provocation for which a further and more circumscribe apology is required in order to fully rectify.
Vida got off even more lightly in terms of punishment from FIFA than ethnic Albanian players who were fined for making a grossly offensive ultra-nationalist hang gesture during a match against Serbia.
Many have taken to social media to express their disappointment at Vida receiving nothing but a verbal admonition from FIFA in spite of the fact that civilians in Donbass continue to be slaughtered by those shouting the very slogan he decided to utter on Russian soil.