A Serbian volleyball player was suspended for two games after making a racist gesture against Thailand last week.
In the match in Rimini, Italy, a CCTV camera caught Sanja Djurdjevic’s eyes contracted with his fingers. This response caused anger on social media.
Players regarded this incident as a “simple misunderstanding”. She said she tried to make her teammates understand to defend like their Thai opponents.
“Please don’t blow it up,” the Serbian Volleyball Federation wrote in a statement on Facebook. “We express our sincere apologies to the Thai team and the Thai people.” A Thai player responded on Instagram that she accepted the apology.
Djurdjevic will not participate in the next matches against Belgium and Canada. The Serbian Volleyball Federation also has to pay a fine of more than 18,000 euros.
The International Volleyball Federation FIVB stated that it will use the money for actions against racism and discrimination in sports. Petitions calling for more sanctions against Djurdjevic have been signed thousands of times.
In 2017, the Serbian women’s volleyball team was also discredited due to racial discrimination. After a game, the whole team was photographed like this.