Austria striker Arnautovic banned for Netherlands clash for ‘insulting’ behaviour

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Arnautovic had to be restrained by his captain David Alaba as he celebrated scoring in a 3-1 victory in Austria’s Group C opener at the National Arena in Bucharest on Sunday.

The 32-year-old, who is of Serbian descent, was accused of yelling a racist insult at North Macedonia players Egzon Bejtulai and Ezgjan Alioski, who both have Albanian roots.

UEFA to investigate Arnautovic incident in North Macedonia game

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Arnautovic apologised for his conduct but denied using a racial slur.

The Football Federation of Macedonia submitted an official letter to UEFA demanding the most severe punishment possible following what it described as a “nationalist outburst” towards Ezgjan Alioski, who has Albanian roots.

UEFA launched an investigation and decided to ban the 32-year-old for one game, so he will sit out the encounter with the Oranje at Johan Cruijff ArenA for “insulting another player.”

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Arnautovic responded, stating that he wants positives to come out of his “bad behaviour”.

He said in a statement released by the Austrian Football Association (OFB): “I publicly admitted my misconduct at the goal celebration on my own initiative, even before proceedings were initiated, and apologised for it.

“There have been regrettable statements from both sides, but provocations are no justification for my behaviour either. Immediately after the game there was a debate and mutual apology.

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“I grew up with people from different countries and cultures and I stand for diversity very clearly. Everyone who knows me knows that. It is very important to me personally to emphasise that. Together with the OFB, I stand for tolerance and integration in all areas of society.

“Precisely because integration is so important to me through my own history, I would like to use this case as an opportunity and provide €25,000 for my integration project, in which I act as a patron, so that my bad behaviour is also a good consequence for more cohesion.

“Above all, I want to be a good role model for children and young people.”

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Netherlands boss Frank de Boer said of Arnautovic’s suspension: “It’s a shame for Austria because he’s a good player, I know him from his spell with Twente, so yes he’s a good player and they will miss him.

“In that way its an advantage for us. He came in as a substitute [versus North Macedonia] and he made a difference right away.”

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