Why are England playing behind closed doors? No fans will attend the Croatia Nations League game at Stadion Rujevica

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England face Croatia in Rijeka at the Stadion Rujevica where no fans will be permitted inside.

Gareth Southgate’s side will be taking part in what will be known as a ‘ghost game.’

The Nations League match will be crucial to deciding who is relegated, with Spain all but certain to win the group and the Three Lions battling it out again with the World Cup finalists.

Having edged out their rivals in the semi-finals in Russia, it is a major blow to Croatia to not have home support. It is the first time in 988 senior matches England will play behind closed doors.

It all stems from a UEFA sanction after a swastika was marked on the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier at home vs Italy, in Split.

A home game vs Bulgaria was the first of the ban, but there has not been a UEFA-sanctioned home match since.

Stadion Rujevica will host Croatia vs England
(Image: Twitter)

Croatia condemned the act by labelling it an act of “sabotage and a felony”.

Croatia have also been in trouble before with UEFA, with the game in which the swastika was marked on the pitch also behind closed doors. That was due to racist chanting by fans against Norway.

A one-point deduction was also enforced as part of the punishment for the swastika being marked on the pitch.

Croatia are fulfilling the second of a two game stadium ban behind closed doors
(Image: Twitter)

UEFA Statement

“Uefa can confirm that the Uefa Nations League group stage match between Croatia and England scheduled for 12 October 2018 will be played behind closed doors,” said European football’s governing body.

“This relates back to a decision taken by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body on 23 July 2015 which ordered the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) to play its next two home matches in Uefa competition without supporters in the stadium.”

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