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Ukraine’s football authorities offer job to Croatian Vukojevic after his World Cup remarks

July 10, 18:58 UTC+3 KIEV

Croatian national team’s 29-year-old defender Vida said in a statement on Monday that he had "no political message" in his statement

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Ognjen Vukojevic

Ognjen Vukojevic

© AP Photo/Darko Bandic

KIEV, July 10. /TASS/. The Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) has offered a job to Croatian team’s coaching staff assistant Ognjen Vukojevic, as well as to pay off the fine imposed by the FIFA on him this week, FFU President Andrei Pavelko said on Tuesday.

During the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the hosting national football team managed to make it to the quarterfinals stage, where Croatia edged them out in a 4-2 penalty shootout to close Saturday’s spectacular match in Sochi.

In a video clip, which was recorded after the match in the Croatian team’s locker room and later circulated on social networks, Croatia’s defender Domagoj Vida yells "Glory to Ukraine," while team’s coaching staff assistant Ognjen Vukojevic added that he dedicated that victory over Russia to the people of Ukraine.

"We hold a clearly expressed position of supporting our friends," Paveloko told journalists in Kiev. "We have offered both legal and financial support for Ognjen and Vida."

"I personally, as well as the FFU management, have made a decision to pay off Ognjen’s pending fine…, and offer him a job with the FFU," Pavelko added.

Vida played for Dynamo Kiev FC between 2013 and 2018, while Vukojevic played for them in 2008-2015.

Following the incident with the video footage, the Croatian Football Federation (CFF) decided to issue a warning to Vida against such behavior in the future and stripped Vukojevic of his accreditation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The world’s governing football body, FIFA, also imposed a financial penalty against Croatia’s Vukojevic in the amount of 15,000 Swiss francs (over $15,100).

Croatian national team’s 29-year-old defender Vida said in a statement on Monday that he had "no political message" in his statement.

"I regret that some media representatives have interpreted our communication in such a manner," Vida was quoted as saying by the CFF. "It was definitely no political message, but a simple thank you for all the support from Ukraine, where Vukojevic and I spent a number of years."

"I am happy to speak Russian language, I enjoy Russian hospitality at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and I sincerely hope that this message will not be understood as anything else but an expression of gratitude to our friends in Ukraine for their support - not in the match against Russia, but during the entire World Cup," Vida said.

Russia is staging its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

After edging hosts Russia on a 4-3 penalty shootout win on Saturday night at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium, the Croatian national squad is now gearing up to take on Team England in the semifinals.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinal match between the Croatian footballers and the ‘Three Lions’ (Team England) is scheduled to be played on Wednesday night at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

In another semifinal match of this World Cup, the French team is scheduled to take on the Belgian squad later this day in Russia’s second-largest city of Saint Petersburg. The match kicks off at 9:00 p.m. local time (18:00 GMT).

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