UEFA confirm investigation into Marko Arnautovic celebration

UEFA has confirmed it will investigate alleged comments made by Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic.

The incident took place as Arnautovic celebrated scoring the third goal in Austria’s 3-1 win over Northern Macedonia.

The Football Federation of Macedonia (FFM) had previously shared a statement calling on UEFA to investigate.

“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 statement read. “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. We will always stand up and defend the interests and dignity of Macedonian national players wherever they perform.”

The Guardian has now confirmed UEFA has appointed an ethics and disciplinary inspector to look into the comments.

Arnautovic took to Instagram following the game to apologise for “heated words”, though denied uttering anything racist.

“There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise – especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,” Arnautovic, whose father is Serbian, said.

“I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist. I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that.”

Austria are set to face the Netherlands on Thursday, while North Macedonia will line up against Ukraine.