Croatia loses 1 point in qualifying for swastika incident

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has rejected Croatia’s appeal against the one-point deduction in its European Championship qualifying group after a swastika was painted on the field before a match against Italy.

Croatia must also play its next two home qualifiers in an empty stadium, starting with Bulgaria on Oct. 10. UEFA also barred Croatia from playing qualifiers in Split, which hosted the 1-1 draw with Italy on June 12.

The swastika was clearly marked in the middle of the half Italy was attacking from kickoff.

The Croatian football federation must also pay a fine of 100,000 euros ($110,000).

Croatia remains third in Group H after the sanction, four points behind leader Italy and two behind Norway after eight matches. Coach Niko Kovac was fired earlier this month for poor results.