Swastika Found on Croatian Soccer Pitch

Croatian team apologizes for 'act of sabotage' before match against Italy; could face sanctions.

Tova Dvorin ,

Soccer game (illustrative)
Soccer game (illustrative)
Flash 90

The Croatian football (soccer) association has cried 'sabotage' on Saturday, after a swastika was found mowed into the pitch used for its national team's Euro 2016 qualifying match against Italy at the Polijud Stadium in Split. 

The match, held on Friday night, was already conducted without live spectators as a punishment for previous racist incidents with fans, according to CNN. However, the swastika was visible on television. 

Ground staff attempted to hide the symbol during halftime, but to no avail. 

"We apologize to all viewers, our guests from Italy and the players from both teams, for the Nazi symbol on the Poljud Stadium grass," Croatian soccer federation spokesman Tomislav Pacak stated Friday night. He added that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) had been notified. 

"This was an obvious act of sabotage and a criminal act. We condemn it and ask the police and judicial bodies to find the person(s) responsible for what is a shame not only for Croatian football, but the entire country." 

The Croatian team could face sanctions from UEFA over the incident. 

The Croatian team has already been thrust into the spotlight for the strange tattoo of star Mario Mandzukic, who accidentally received a Hebrew tattoo upon his back written from left-to-right instead of from right-to-left.