There have been allegations all over social media that Austrian player Marko Arnautovic used an anti-Albanian slur towards Egzon Bejtulai in the Euro 2020 match between Austria and North Macedonia. The 32-year-old had a heated argument with Leeds Player Gjanni Alioski after scoring the goal.
The former Stoke City and West Ham United player came on as a substitute in the 59th minute of the game and went on to score the 3rd goal for Austria.
The celebration the brought Marko Arnautovic into trouble
Arnautovic is alleged to have shouted the words: “I’ll f*** your Albanian mother” in the direction of his opponents.
Also Read:- FC Barcelona finalising a 7 players swap deal with Manchester City: Big names involved!
Instead of celebrating, Marko Arnautovic was seen shouting some potential abuse against his opponents. Arnautovic was restrained by teammate David Alaba as he celebrated aggressively in front of supporters. David Alaba was seen trying to close the substitute’s mouth with his hand to keep the player quiet.
Reports in Serbia alleged that Marko Arnautovic made a disrespectful comment directed towards Albanians, with some of North Macedonia’s players including Gjanni Alioski who was nearby -being of Albanian heritage. Marko Arnautovic has a Serbian background.
Marko Arnautovic wrote on Instagram: “There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania.”
“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.”
UEFA confirmed an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct an investigation into the incident. UEFA also informed that the harshest punishments will be given to him if he is found guilty.
Also Read:- Portugal vs Hungary Highlights: Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the all-time EURO top scorer with a brace against Hungary
At the 2018 World Cup, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri both faced bans after their controversial celebrations during their nation’s victory over Serbia. The duo – who both had roots in Kosovo – celebrated by putting their hands together to form a double-headed eagle, similar to the one on the Albanian flag.
A North Macedonia football associate wrote on Facebook: “At the same time, we inform you that we have submitted an official letter to UEFA demanding the harshest punishment for Austrian representative Marko Arnautovic”.
“We are always against nationalism, discrimination and all other forms of insults and outbursts that are not in the spirit of football and values that we all stand together. We will always stand up and defend the interests and dignity of Macedonian national players wherever they perform.”
There is a historic tension between Serbia and Albania & between Serbia and North Macedonia in the past.
Tensions between North Macedonia and ethnic Albania in the small Balkan country started off in 2001 when Albanians took up arms and fought with government forces, demanding more rights. The conflict ended after seven months with a deal that granted more rights to Albanians. Ethnic Albanian parties have been part of every government in the country since it declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.Serbia and ethnic Albanians have also been in conflict in Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Kosovo’s majority population are ethnic Albanians, and Serbia has never recognized the country’s independence. Albania, Kosovo and Serbia all border North Macedonia. In 2017, Serbia was angered by North Macedonia’s intention to support Kosovo’s membership in UNESCO.