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Volleyball Player Suspended For Racist Gesture During Match Against Thailand

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Volleyball Player Suspended For Racist Gesture During Match Against Thailand

A Serbian volleyball player has been suspended for making a racist gesture with her face during a match against Thailand.

Sanja Djurdjevic made a 'slant-eyed' gesture at the game in Rimini, Italy during a FIVB Volleyball Women's Nations League match.

Following an investigation, FIVB decided the gesture was inappropriate.

She has now been benched for two games and her sporting federation has been fined 20,000 Swiss francs (AUD$28,872).

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The governing body said in a statement: "The FIVB disciplinary panel subcommittee, which is the independent body competent to impose disciplinary sanctions within FIVB competitions, has found that Ms Sanja Djurdjevic, a player of the Serbia women's national volleyball team, violated the FIVB disciplinary regulations following a gesture made during the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2021 match between Serbia and Thailand on 1 June 2021.

"Ms Sanja Djurdjevic has received a two-match suspension.

"The player will serve her match suspensions during the VNL 2021 matches and will therefore miss Serbia's match on 8 and 12 June 2021 against Belgium and Canada respectively. In addition, the Volleyball Federation of Serbia has been fined CHF 20.000."

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FIVB says it will donate the proceeds of the fine 'to programs against discriminatory behaviour and promote cultural sensitivity'.

It comes as the Serbian team gears up for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which kicks off next month.

While the squad will no doubt miss Djurdjevic for their next two matches, the national team has issued a statement trying to explain what happened in Italy.

Writing on the country's federation's Facebook page, they said: "We apologise sincerely to the Thailand team, people of Thailand and to all of you affected by this.

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"But, please, don't blow this out of proportion! Sanja is aware of her mistake and she immediately apologised to the whole Thailand team."

Sanja posted a message to her fans on Instagram and indicated her upset at her own actions.

According to Vice News, she said: "I only wanted to address my teammates with the message: 'now, we will start playing defence like them', I didn't mean to disrespect anyone."

She also apologised to 'all people all over the world' whom she caused offence to.

Featured Image Credit: Sina

Topics: News

Stewart Perrie
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