- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ZAGREB, CROATIA (AP) - Gay groups in Croatia plan to complain to UEFA after the country’s soccer federation president said he would not allow a gay player on the national team.

Vlatko Markovic said in an interview with the Vecernji List newspaper published on Sunday that as long as he heads the national federation, a gay player “certainly” will not suit up for Croatia.

Asked if he had ever encountered a gay player, he replied: “No. Fortunately, only healthy people play football.”

Gay groups Kontra and Iskorak say on their websites that they will sue Markovic in Croatia and report him to UEFA, saying his remarks are “discriminatory” and violate Croatian and international laws.

They also emphasized that former Croatia coach Otto Baric was fined by UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Committee in 2007 for making anti-gay remarks in a newspaper interview three years earlier.

Baric was fined $2,510 for saying that “there is no place for homosexuals in my team. Homosexuality is not good.”

Markovic has been president of Croatia’s federation for 12 years, and last year was awarded an Order of Merit by UEFA for his long and loyal service to the sport.

However, he is expected to be seriously challenged at presidential elections later this year by former national player Igor Stimac.

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