North Macedonia calls on UEFA to investigate Marko Arnautovic’s comments

North Macedonia calls on UEFA to investigate Marko Arnautovic’s comments

The North Macedonian Football Association has called on UEFA to investigate Marko Arnautovic’s comments to North Macedonia fans after the Austrian striker scored late in the Euro 2020 game on Sunday.

Arnautovic has denied using racist language during the Bucharest game, but apologized for his reaction to opposing supporters after scoring in the 89th minute of Austria’s 3-1 victory. Austrian captain David Alaba stepped in to restrain a seemingly enraged Arnautovic as he celebrated his goal.

“There were some passionate words in the emotions of the game yesterday that I would like to apologize for – especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,” Arnautovic, whose father is Serbian, said 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 up for diversity. Anyone who knows me knows that. “

Early media reports suggested that the 32-year-old’s wrath was also directed at North Macedonian players Egzon Bejtulai and Ezgjan Alioski, both of Albanian descent. The Macedonian Football Federation (FFM) statement, posted on Facebook on Monday, claims Arnautovic’s comments were aimed at Alioski.

Marko Arnautovic and Ezgjan Alioski chat after the final whistle in Bucharest. Photograph: Robert Ghement / EPA

“The FFM strongly condemns the nationalist enthusiasm of Austrian player Marko Arnautovic, after a goal scored in yesterday’s match, addressed to Ezgjan Alioski,” said 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. “

“We are always against nationalism, discrimination and all other forms of insults and explosions that are not in the spirit of football and the values ​​that we all stand for together. We will always stand up and defend the interests and dignity of Macedonian national players wherever they perform.

There are historic tensions between Serbia and Albania and North Macedonia over the sovereignty of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. At the 2018 World Cup, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, both of Kosovar-Albanian descent, were fined for actions taken during their match against Serbia.

Arnautovic, a former Stoke City and West Ham player, is currently based in China with the Port of Shanghai. In their next Group C matches, Austria will face the Netherlands on Thursday at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, while North Macedonia will face Ukraine in Bucharest.


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