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Serbian volleyball player banned for 'slant-eyed' gesture against Thailand

HONG KONG — Serbian volleyball player Sanja Djurdjevic has been banned for two games and her federation fined 20,000 Swiss francs (S$29,500) after making a racist gesture in a FIVB Volleyball Women's Nations League match against Thailand last week.

Serbian volleyball player banned for 'slant-eyed' gesture against Thailand

A screen grab showing Serbian volleyball player Sanja Djurdjevic making a racist gesture during a Nations League game against Thailand on June 1, 2021.

HONG KONG — Serbian volleyball player Sanja Djurdjevic has been banned for two games and her federation fined 20,000 Swiss francs (S$29,500) after making a racist gesture in a FIVB Volleyball Women's Nations League match against Thailand last week.

"The FIVB disciplinary panel subcommittee, which is the independent body competent to impose disciplinary sanctions within FIVB competitions, has found that 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," the FIVB said in a press release on Monday (June 7).

Djurdevic made a "slant-eyed" gesture during the game in Rimini, Italy, with the Serbian Volleyball Federation issuing an apology the following day.

The gesture comes just weeks before the Serbia team, who are ranked eighth in the world, travel to Tokyo for the Olympic Games where they will meet South Korea and hosts Japan in group A. The top four teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals, where Serbia could meet Rio 2016 gold medal winners China.

The FIVB said the punishment, which sees Djurdevic unavailable for games against Belgium and Canada, cannot be appealed.

"In light of the in-competition nature of the offence, the proceedings were conducted in an expedited manner. The FIVB disciplinary panel subcommittee reserves the right to reopen the proceedings if the player fails to serve her sanction. The sanction is final."

In addition, the Volleyball Federation of Serbia was fined 20,000 Swiss francs with the money going to tackling discrimination.

"The FIVB will donate the fine to a cause dedicated to tackling discriminatory behaviour and/or to fund educational programmes on cultural sensitivity for the global volleyball family," their statement said.

The federation's apology, via its Facebook page, called the incident "a simple misunderstanding".

"We apologise sincerely to the Thailand team, people of Thailand and to all of you affected by this," their public post said.

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

Related topics

racism serbia Thailand Sports volleyball Asian

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