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29 Jun, 2021 19:29

SCANDAL: Croatia’s Euro 2020 jerseys sported NAZI pattern and ‘nobody noticed’ until loss to Spain

SCANDAL: Croatia’s Euro 2020 jerseys sported NAZI pattern and ‘nobody noticed’ until loss to Spain

Adding insult to the injury of Croatia’s loss to Spain at Euro 2020, Zagreb is blaming the print shop for the fact that the team’s jerseys featured the wrong flag, with the checkerboard pattern used by the Nazi-allied WWII regime.

Croatia made it to the round of 16 before getting knocked out of the European Championship by Spain on Monday, in a nail-biting match in Copenhagen that ended 5-3 in extra time. Only at that point did someone notice that the custom-printed jerseys for every game, featuring the date, city and the flags of the participants, had the WWII-era checkerboards on them.

Also on rt.com All-time classic: Spain outlast Croatian fightback to book Euro 2020 quarter-final spot after pulsating clash in Copenhagen

The Croatian soccer union (HNS) blamed the printing company, Sitotisak Decolor, for the “unintentional error in the process of vector-drawing by hand and then in the printing of the Croatian flags on the eve of the European Championship, which was then not noticed,” news portal Index.hr reported on Tuesday.

The HNS is seeking an apology from the company and “internal disciplining” of employees responsible for the “accidental mishap,” they told reporters. “Of course, HNS rejects any notion that this was a purposeful distortion of the Croatian coat of arms, which the Croatian teams have proudly represented around the world for years.”

Owner of Sitotisak Decolor, Damir Kumek, profusely apologized for what he described as “absolutely an accident and a mistake,” insisting to the Jutarnji List daily that the shop “did not print this on purpose, nor did anyone ask us to.”

Croatia has claimed that its red-and-white checkerboard coat of arms dates back to the 15th century. It represented Croats in the flag of the original Yugoslavia, established in 1918, the Communist one re-established in 1945, as well as the modern Croatian flag adopted after Zagreb declared independence in 1991. 

Between 1941 and 1945, however, the Independent State of Croatia was run by Ante Pavelic’s Ustasha regime, allied with Nazi Germany. The Ustasha used a checkerboard with the white starting field instead. Pavelic’s regime committed genocidal atrocities against the Serbs, Jews and Roma during the war.

This is not the first incident involving Ustasha symbolism and the Croatian side. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA warned Croatia over a banner rolled out by fans after the match with Nigeria, which displayed the Ustasha flag. Josip Simunic, a player who chanted the Ustasha greeting (“Za dom spremni!” or “For the homeland, ready!") after the 2013 qualifier with Iceland, was fined and suspended for 10 games.

It is, however, the first such incident involving official jerseys commissioned by the HNS. Meanwhile, of the four teams that played against Croatia at Euro 2020, Czechia and Scotland had the correct flag on their jerseys, while England and Spain did not have flags on their jerseys at all.

Also on rt.com Ukraine to be forced to remove WW2 Nazi collaborator slogan from Euro 2020 shirt after UEFA deems it ‘political’ & ‘militaristic’

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