Croatia charged with racist behaviour by UEFA after Italy Euro 2016 qualifier

Conte: Game close to being called off (0:57)

Italy head coach Antonio Conte confirmed Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers was close to stopping their 1-1 draw with Croatia on Sunday. (0:57)

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Italy and Croatia following Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifying match in Milan.

The match at the San Siro was temporarily stopped in both halves by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers after visiting fans threw fireworks and smoke bombs on to the pitch.

Charges of racist behaviour, crowd disturbances and the setting-off of fireworks and throwing of missiles have been levelled against the Croatian Football Federation, while Italy have been charged as a result of setting off fireworks.

The case will be dealt with by UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on Dec. 11.

Antonio Candreva put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute when he scored his first international goal but Croatia's Ivan Perisic equalised four minutes later.

The match finished 1-1 but the rhythm of the contest was subsequently broken up by events in the stands.

At one point, the players were taken off the pitch for 10 minutes by the referee.

The result left the two sides level on 10 points at the top of Group H after four games, with both teams having gone into the encounter on the back of three straight wins in qualifying.

Croatia manager Niko Kovac has said sorry for the behaviour of his country's fans, saying: "I've apologised to every single one of the Italy players on the field of play. Now I want to extend those apologies to everybody.

"When things like this happen with our fans, it's unacceptable. Our people are not like this."

Daniele De Rossi says something must be done to clamp down on fans bringing fireworks and flares into stadiums, adding: "Unfortunately, it seems you can bring anything into stadiums nowadays and I really don't know why."