AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Croatia official allowed to watch semis despite conviction

July 11, 2018
Croatia's Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic, Marcelo Brozovic and Filip Bradaric, from left, warm up during a training session in the Luzhniki sport ground at 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Croatia's Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic, Marcelo Brozovic and Filip Bradaric, from left, warm up during a training session in the Luzhniki sport ground at 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA is letting a top Croatian soccer official watch the team’s World Cup semifinal against England from a VIP section on Wednesday despite him being convicted last month in a corruption case linked to the transfer of Luka Modric.

When Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals on Saturday, the soccer federation’s CEO-like director general sat in the same row of seats as state President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Damir Vrbanovic has retained his position since being sentenced by a court in Croatia in June to a three-year jail term — though Article 68 of FIFA’s disciplinary code bars officials “convicted of a criminal offense in the past five years.”

However, FIFA has decided that the sentence is not final because the former Dinamo Zagreb director general is appealing to a higher court

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.