Soccer-North Macedonia ask UEFA to investigate Arnautovic's goal celebration


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group C - Austria v North Macedonia - National Arena, Bucharest, Romania - June 13, 2021 Austria's Marko Arnautovic and North Macedonia's Ezgjan Alioski after the match Pool via REUTERS/Justin Setterfield/File photo

(Reuters) - North Macedonia's football federation (FFM) has called on UEFA to investigate Austria forward Marko Arnautovic's reaction after he scored during their Euro 2020 match on Sunday.

Second-half substitute appeared furious as he celebrated his late goal, before captain David Alaba stepped in to restrain him.

The 32-year-old, who has Serbian background, apologised on Monday for his reaction towards North Macedonia fans but denied he had using racist language towards them.

The FFM said Arnautovic's remarks were aimed at North Macedonia's Gjanni Alioski, who has Albanian roots.

Serbia does not recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, while there is historic tension between Serbia and both Albania and North Macedonia.

"The FFM strongly condemns the nationalistic outburst of Austrian player Marko Arnautovic, after a goal scored in yesterday's match, addressed to Ezgjan Alioski," the FFM said on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/145132128853637/posts/4418753504824790 on Monday.

"At the same time, we inform you that we have submitted an official letter to UEFA demanding the harshest punishment for 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," the FFM added.

"We will always stand up and defend the interests and dignity of Macedonian national players wherever they perform."

Reuters has requested comment from UEFA.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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