Austria forward banned for one game after 'insulting' opposition at Euro 2020

3 months ago 46

(CNN)Austria national footballer Marko Arnautovic has been handed a one-match ban by UEFA for "insulting another player" during his team's 3-1 win against North Macedonia at Euro 2020 on Sunday.

The forward, who has Serbian heritage, scored in the 89th minute before seemingly directing an angry tirade at North Macedonian player Gjanni Alioski, who has Albanian roots.

There have been historical tensions between Serbia and Albania. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 10 years after the bloody conflict between Serb forces and Kosovar-Albanian rebels. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

    Austria teammate David Alaba seemingly tried to silence Arnautovic by grabbing hold of his jaw during the angry celebration.

      After the game, Arnautovic took to Instagram to apologize for the incident but insisted he had not used racist language. His Instagram account no longer appears to be active.

      "There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologize, especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," he wrote.

      "I would like to say one thing very clearly: I AM NOT A RACIST!

      "I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that."

        European football's governing body opened an investigation into the incident Tuesday and announced the suspension on Wednesday.

        Arnautovic will now miss his nation's match against the Netherlands on Thursday but will be available for the final group game against Ukraine on Monday.

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