Soccer

Belgium player banned 10 games for racist salute

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The Canadian Press
3/4/2014 10:22:02 AM
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NYON, Switzerland -- UEFA banned a Belgium player for 10 matches on Tuesday for making the "quenelle" gesture at a futsal European Championship match.

Omar Rahou made the discriminatory gesture several times while celebrating scoring a goal against Romania at Antwerp in January, UEFA said.

The sanction was double the five-match ban Nicolas Anelka received from an English Football Association independent tribunal last week for the same act.

The FA is considering appealing to seek a tougher sanction against Anelka, who performed the quenelle after scoring for West Bromwich Albion in a Premier League match in December.

The quenelle has been described as an "inverted Nazi salute." It involves pointing one straightened arm downward while touching the shoulder with the opposite hand.

UEFA said the 21-year-old Rahou can appeal the sanction.

UEFA requires a minimum 10-match sanction for racist abuse at matches it organizes after toughening its disciplinary rules last May.

The following week, FIFA updated its sanctioning powers and called for minimum five-match suspensions.

In the Rahou case, UEFA said one of its disciplinary inspectors "concluded that the gesture has discriminatory connotations."

It was popularized by French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been convicted multiple times for inciting racial hatred or anti-Semitism.

Anelka said his gesture showed support for "anti-system" views and was not discriminatory.

Soccer Ball (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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