Austria's Arnautovic suspended for Netherlands clash after insulting North Macedonia's Alioski

Marko Arnautovic, Alioski Euro 2020Getty

Austria star Marko Arnautovic has been suspended for one match following UEFA's investigation into remarks the striker made towards Ezgjan Alioski.

After scoring in Austria's 3-1 win over North Macedonia, Arnautovic was seen gesturing in the direction of Alioski and allegedly shouting “I'm f*cking your Albanian mother”.

The player took to social media following the incident to apologise, insisting that his words were not racially charged, but UEFA has made the decision to ban him for one game for using insulting language.

Article continues below

What did Arnautovic say?

"There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to APOLOGIZE - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," he 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 did UEFA say?

Arnautovic may have said sorry, but he has been suspended regardless – although UEFA's press release made no mention of racism.

“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.”

What have his team mates said?

David Alaba grabbed Arnautovic by the mouth in his attempts to shut his team mate up as he ranted at Alioski, however he insists he did not realise at who the forward was directing his ire.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Alaba said: “I saw his aggressive way of cheering after the goal. I didn't realise there was a battle of words and I cheered with him. He had to hear a lot from his opponent in advance. I have to protect him.

"It was an issue in the team during the last few days, but I perceive the team and Marco very positively. We don't want to be distracted by it. That shows the spirit we have in the team. No matter what happens. We'll get through it. The mood is still good.”

Austria manager Franco Foda admitted he had planned to start Arnautovic against the Dutch and the ban had impacted his plans for the game.

He said: “It is bad news for all of us. We will miss Marco. We thought about playing him from the start tomorrow. Now we have to think again.

"Marco has been provoked by players from North Macedonia. He overreacted out of emotionality, but he apologised immediately after the game.

"We stand behind him. He has done a lot for Austrian football and he will return for the game against Ukraine.”

The bigger picture

With Arnautovic having made an instant impact when coming off the bench against North Macedonia, the news of his suspension will sting fans who had been counting on him to pose a threat to the Netherlands.

Indeed, even Dutch boss Frank de Boer noted his absence as a big blow, telling a press conference on Wednesday: “This is of course a pity for Austria, they will miss him. 

“For us it is an advantage. He immediately made the difference [against North Macedonia] after he came on.”

Further reading