Serbian volleyball player sanctioned for racist gesture
A Serbian volleyball player has been sanctioned by the International Volleyball Federation after an incident during a match with the Thai national team. During the match, Sanja Djurdjevic made a gesture by pulling the corner of her eyes which she said was to warn her teammates to watch their opponent’s strategy but was widely seen as a racist gesture that demeaned Asian eyes.
The Serbian player was found guilty of breaking disciplinary rules by the disciplinary panel subcommittee and was suspended for 2 matches as a result. In a statement released yesterday, the panel confirmed that she will not play in the matches against Belgium and Canada on June 8 and 12 respectively.
The Serbian Volleyball Federation was fined around 700,000 baht for the apparent racist gesture which it called unfortunate and said it did not want to disrespect Thai players. Sanja immediately apologized to the Thai team after the match, which took place on June 1, and the federation offered a sincere apology to the Thai team and anyone affected by the incident.
The Serbian team had a very similar problem a few years ago when the same racist gesture was used. A 2017 photo of the team doing all the same gestures, pulling the sides of their eyes was taken when the team learned they were on their way to a game in Japan.
The International Volleyball Federation is committed to donating fine money to an anti-discrimination charity or funding cultural awareness training or educational programs.
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