Lausanne (AFP) – Austria forward Marko Arnautovic has been given a one-game Euro 2020 ban for insulting a North Macedonia player in his side’s opening match at the tournament, UEFA said on Wednesday.
UEFA said Arnautovic had been punished for “insulting another player” and the 32-year-old will miss his side’s match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday as a result.
European football’s governing body had opened an investigation into Arnautovic following the incident in Sunday’s 3-1 win over North Macedonia in Bucharest.
The former West Ham United player, who now plays for Shanghai Port in China, netted Austria’s third goal in the game and then launched into an ill-tempered celebration until his teammate David Alaba intervened to calm him down.
Media reports claimed he insulted Leeds United’s Ezgjan Alioski, referring to the North Macedonia defender’s Albanian heritage.
“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,” Arnautovic said in a statement posted on social media on Tuesday.
“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.”
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