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Croatia official allowed to watch semis despite conviction

/ 08:46 PM 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)

MOSCOW — 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.”

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

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TAGS: Croatia, Football, Luka Modric, World Cup
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