Croatian football chiefs are using a sick fascist hatemonger to whip up a vile racist frenzy among fans
A Sun investigation today reveals the Croatian FA is behind a cynical campaign encouraging thugs - who will be at Wembley for tomorrow's match against England - to worship the right-wing nut spreading hatred and Sieg Heil chants on the terraces.
Shocking songs by fascist rocker Marko Perkovic that glorify genocide and Hitler's death camps are played at Croatia's home matches. And his sick slogans are chanted by thousands of fans.
England striker Emile Heskey was subjected to sinister obscenities and disgusting monkey chants the last time the two sides met. The squad for the World Cup qualifier boasts a host of black stars including Heskey, goal ace Jermain Defoe and Ashley Cole.
Perkovic - nicknamed Thompson after the machinegun he used in the Balkans war - is loved by fans of the Croatia side. They are notorious for wearing the uniform of the Nazis' puppet Ustashe regime that ran Croatia during World War II. The songs are blasted out to crank up intimidation levels inside Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium. It instantly provokes a fascist fervour as fans - who once formed a human swastika on the terraces - launch into the Sieg Heil salutes popular at Thompson's concerts.
Fans repeatedly chant the notorious Ustashe war cry "Za dom - Spremni", which means "For the Homeland - ready" and is popularised in Thompson's songs.
Croatia's football chiefs have been repeatedly condemned by FIFA and punished over fans' racist thuggery. Yet stadium security chiefs make no attempt to curb the show of hate, which inevitably continues when fans follow the team abroad.
Team manager Slaven Bilic has even admitted playing Thompson's music in the dressing room to fire up his players, who include Arsenal striker Eduardo. The Sun witnessed the tactic being used to stir a 30,000-strong crowd into fascist chants and salutes at Croatia's home match against Belarus last Saturday. About 8,000 of those fans are expected at Wembley tomorrow.
Our investigators also attended a Thompson concert, where bare-chested fans openly gave the stiff-armed Sieg Heil salute while proudly waving Croatian flags. Some even took SWORDS to the show - where Thompson, 42, posed on stage with his own blade. Thompson, an avid footie fan who wears paramilitary costume at gigs, is a cult figure on white supremacist website Stormfront.
He has been barred from performing in countries including the Netherlands and Austria because of security fears. He glorifies the Ustashe regime which committed genocide in World War II and his chilling lyrics glamorise Nazi concentration camps where 90,000 innocent Jews, gipsies and Serbs were murdered. He also backs Croat generals who committed crimes against humanity during the bloody Balkans conflict in the 1990s.
His official video for one song, hailed as Croatia's footie anthem, honours warlord Mate Boban, who led a 1990s genocide campaign. Croatia's fans and players reacted angrily when the song was not played at a 2007 match against Israel for fear of causing offence.
Human rights campaigners demanded FIFA take action against Croatia for promoting Thompson. Nazi hunter Dr Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre said: "It is unacceptable, irresponsible and dangerous. His lyrics support the Ustashe and encourage nostalgia for a regime that committed genocide."
Anti-Nazi magazine Searchlight said Croatia should be forced to play behind closed doors.
Croatian MP Damir Kajin said: "The activities of Marko Perkovic give the appearance that Croatia is not a civilised country."
There is no suggestion Croatia's football officials or players share Thompson's fascist views. Manager Bilic - an ex-West Ham and Everton player - has previously condemned the far right and Croatia's fascist past.
The Sun asked the Croatian Football Federation why it played Thompson's songs and why fans were allowed to give Nazi salutes. We also asked whether officials considered it acceptable to link the national team with a singer accused of glorifying genocide. The CFF declined to answer. A spokesman said only: "I hope we play a good game and we win it."
Thompson was unavailable for comment last night.