UEFA has been ordered to pay six-figure damages to a Croatian referee who claimed he had been wrongfully accused of rigging the result of the 2009 Croatian Cup final, state news agency Hina reported on Tuesday.
The court, in the northern Croatian town of Daruvar, ordered UEFA to pay 750,000 kuna ($134,900) to referee Bruno Maric, who had been in charge of the match between arch-rivals Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split. Maric sent off two Hajduk Split players and awarded a penalty to Dinamo, who eventually won 3-0. Maric denied accusations by an UEFA investigator that the game had been rigged and that he had been involved, and he pressed his own charges against the European football federation in 2012. Maric was questioned by Robin Boksic, who was later dismissed from UEFA's team of investigators. The charges against the Croatian referee have never been brought. UEFA representatives had tried to settle the matter out of court, but to no avail. Maric said he was satisfied by the first-instance verdict, following a trial that began in March last year. "Many people laughed when I said that what I care about is getting UEFA's apology, not money," he was quotd as saying by Hina. "What's most important to me is that UEFA was found guilty for what they have caused to me and my family." However, Maric's lawyer said he would challenge the sentence and demand full compensation - reportedly one million euros ($1.37 million) - for his client. Vladimir Gredelj said: "UEFA does not deserve to be forgiven a single penny. They treated my client in a humiliating and arrogant way. The court did not set the compensation correctly because it did not take into account that everything that had been said about Maric has reached millions of people".