Football: Hungary, Romania punished for fan racism, Croatia's appeal turned down

PARIS (AFP) - Hungary and Romania have both been ordered to play one match behind closed doors for racist behaviour in recent Euro 2016 qualifiers, Uefa announced.

Separately, the European football governing body rejected Croatia's appeal against a one-point deduction after a swastika was daubed on the pitched when they played Italy in their qualifier in Split in June.

Hungary must play their home qualifier against the Faroe Islands behind closed doors after "racist behaviour" and other incidents marred their 0-0 draw with Romania in qualifying Group F in Budapest on Sept 4.

The Hungarian federation was also hit with a fine of 70,000 euros (about S$111,000) by Uefa.

The Romanian federation was handed an identical fine for an array of incidents, including fan violence, in that game.

Romania were also fined an additional 60,000 euros and ordered to play their next home qualifier, against Finland in Bucharest next month, behind closed doors, after "racist behaviour" overshadowed their 0-0 draw with Greece on Sept 7.

Northern Ireland lead the group on 17 points, with Romania a point back and Hungary on 13.

The Croatian football federation (HNS) had apologised for the incident against Italy, which they said "brought prejudice against football and the Croatian State", and labelled it an act of sabotage. The match, which finished 1-1, had already been played behind closed doors owing to another punishment handed down.

A Uefa statement on the appeal read: "The appeal by the HNS was rejected, and the original decision... has been upheld.

"The HNS has also been ordered to play its next two home games in Uefa competition behind closed doors, and ordered not to play any of its remaining qualifiers at the Stadion Poljud in Split.

"In addition, the HNS has been fined 100,000 euros. This decision is final."

The deduction means Croatia remain third on 14 points in qualifying Group H, two points behind Norway in second and four adrift of leaders Italy with two matches remaining.