The head of the Croatian football federation has apologised for saying that gays will not be allowed to play for the national team.

Vlatko Markovic, president of the Croatian Football Federation, recently said that as long as he remained in charge “there will be no homosexuals playing in the national team”.

He added: “luckily, only normal people play football”.

Now, following international outrage, Markovic has apologised, saying that he is “sorry for a clumsy interpretation. It was not my intention whatsoever to insult or hurt anyone”.

In a statement on the federation’s website, he went on to say: “I have nothing against members of any minority, least of all against those of same-sex orientation. Once again, I apologise to all those who were hurt.”

Croatian gay rights groups have vowed to take action against Markovic, who could be fined or fired for contravening national and European football equality regulations.

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