Marko Arnautovic has been dealt a one-match ban by UEFA after the governing body found the Austrian guilty of “insulting another player”.
Arnautovic, 32, scored his country’s third goal in their 3-1 victory over North Macedonia in their Euro 2020 opener on Sunday.
It is alleged Arnautovic aimed an anti-Albanian slur at Egzon Bejtulai then told Leeds United star Alioski “I’ll f*** your Albanian mother”, with UEFA later opening disciplinary proceedings to investigate the incident.
On Wednesday, UEFA released a statement finding Arnautovic guilty of insulting an unspecified North Macedonian player and confirmed his punishment.
“The UEFA Appeals Body has decided to suspend Austrian Football Association player, Marko Arnautovic, for the next (1) UEFA representative team competition match for which he would be otherwise eligible, for insulting another player,” reads the statement.
There is no mention of Arnautovic using racist language, which would have been met with a 10-game suspension.
Now plying his trade with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Port, he apologised for clashing with North Macedonian players in the wake of the incident.
“There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I apologise – especially to the people from North Macedonia and Albania,” Arnautovic wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
What do you make of UEFA’s punishment for Marko Arnautovic? Have your say in the comments.
Arnautovic’s father is Serbian and the Balkan nation has historic tension with Albania and North Macedonia.
The relations between these countries also came to a head during the 2018 World Cup, when Switzerland internationals Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri – who have Albanian connections – were fined for their goal celebrations while playing against Serbia.
Despite Arnautovic’s apology, the Football Federation of Macedonia called for an investigation into his actions and remarks earlier this week.
Their statement read: “The FFM strongly condemns the nationalistic outburst of Austrian player Marko Arnautovic, after a goal scored in yesterday’s match, addressed to Ezgjan Alioski.
“At the same time, we inform you that we have submitted an official letter to Uefa demanding the harshest punishment for Arnautovic.”
Arnautovic’s one-match ban means he will miss Austria’s trip to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands on Thursday, but he will return for their final Group C match against Ukraine in Romania next Monday.
Austria currently top the group with the Netherlands second after an entertaining 3-2 victory over Ukraine on Sunday.