North Macedonia filed an official complaint after the match.
“The FFM strongly condemns the nationalist enthusiasm of Austrian player Marko Arnautovic, after a goal scored in yesterday’s match, addressed to Macedonian player Ezgjan Alioski,” the federation said in a statement. “At the same time, we inform you that we have submitted an official letter to UEFA demanding the most severe punishment for Arnautovic. “
Unofficial reviews of the game’s video suggested that the remarks of Arnautovic, who is of Serbian origin, referred to the Albanians, and North Macedonia claimed they were directed against Alioski, who has Albanian roots. .
Ethnic and political rivalries are a lingering story in European football. Just last week, UEFA ordered Ukraine’s shirts to be changed after Russia opposed a slogan on the collar and a map that included Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 .
Disputes involving Serbia and its Balkan neighbors are common and frequently involve Albania, as representatives of the Albanian diaspora dot the rosters of several national teams, including North Macedonia, Kosovo and Switzerland.