Josip Simunic

Josip Simunic Photo: AP

GENEVA- Australian-born Croatia defender Josip Simunic has had his World Cup hopes crushed definitively after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld a 10-match ban for pro-Nazi chants.

In a statement on Monday, the Swiss-based CAS said that it had unanimously rejected the player's appeal against the penalty issued by FIFA in December.

Simunic's outburst took place after Croatia's World Cup qualifying play-off against Iceland in Zagreb on November 19, which they won 2-0 to secure their berth in Brazil.

After the final whistle, he went to the centre of the pitch with a microphone and yelled to fans "u boj" and "za dom" - Croatian for "to the battle" and "for the homeland".

In response, fans chanted "spremni", meaning "ready".

The chant was the rallying cry of Croatia's World War II Ustase regime, allied to Nazi Germany, which killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, anti-fascist Croatians, Roma and others in concentration camps.

"The player stated that he did not have the intention to offend or discriminate anyone but that he wanted to share his patriotic emotions with the fans after such an important success," CAS said.

That argument failed to sway the CAS arbitrators.

"They confirmed that the expression used by Simunic was a clear and unequivocal reference to the call used by the Ustase and that such expression has to be sanctioned," it said.

In a statement, FIFA hailed the ruling.

"With this decision, FIFA considers that CAS gives a clear and strong support to FIFA's efforts in stamping out racism in football," it said.

In addition to being banned for 10 matches, Dinamo Zagreb captain Simunic has also been banned from even attending those games.

FIFA also fined him fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($A36,800).

Croatian prosecutors likewise fined him 25,000 kunas ($A4760) for inciting racial hatred, arguing that he was aware that the chant was an official Ustase salute.

Simunic was born to Croatian immigrant parents in the Australian capital Canberra.

He repeatedly has maintained that his sole motivation was love of Croatia and its people, and that the idea of being associated with hatred or violence of any kind "terrifies" him.

-AFP