The North Macedonian football federation has asked UEFA to punish Austria striker Marko Arnautovic for his nationalist outburst during the Euro 2020 Championship.
The federation said that Arnautovic’s outburst was directed at Ezgjan Alioski, who is a North Macedonian of Albanian origin.
The Macedonian Football Federation released a statement on Monday and condemned all forms of discrimination and nationalism, which it said were not in the spirit of football.
The final goal in Austria’s 3-1 victory over North Macedonia was scored by Marko Arnautovic on Sunday at the National Arena in Bucharest.
In an Instagram story, Arnautovic apologised for the incident that happened during the game against North Macedonia. “I would like to say one thing very clearly: I AM NOT A RACIST!” Arnautovic wrote. He said that he has friends in almost every country and stands for diversity.
The Albanian minority makes up about a quarter of North Macedonia’s 2.1 million population. Tensions between the country’s ethnic Albanians and the North Macedonians rose in 2001 when the former demanded more rights and fought with government forces with arms in their hands. More rights were finally granted to Albanians, bringing an end to the conflict after seven months.
Ever since the country declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Ethnic Albanian parties have been part of every government it has seen.