Serbia's volleyball federation was also fined he equivalent of $22,000
A Serbian volleyball player has been suspended after making an anti-Asian gesture during a match.
The incident occurred when the team was playing a match against Thailand in Italy on 1 June.
Serbian player Sanja Djurdevic was caught on camera using two fingers to pull back her eyes in response to a Thai player who failed to score a point.
Djurdevi has now been suspended for two matching for violating the sport’s disciplinary rules.
The FIVB Disciplinary Panel Sub-Committee also fined
Serbia’s volleyball federation the equivalent of $22,000.
Money from the fine will be donated to a cause tackling discriminatory behaviour and/or to fund educational programs on cultural sensitivity.
The Volleyball Federation of Serbia had responded to their player’s action by issuing an apology statement.
“We are deeply saddened by the recent events that took place during the Serbia vs Thailand #VNL match in Rimini and the unfortunate gesture of our player Sanja Djurdjevic,” the statement read.
“We apologise sincerely to the Thailand team, people of Thailand and to all of you affected by this.
“But, please, don’t blow this out of proportion! Sanja is aware of her mistake and she immediately apologised to the whole Thailand team. She only wanted to show her teammates ‘let’s start playing defence like them now’, she didn’t mean any disrespect. Of course, it was unfortunate.
“It all ended up as a simple misunderstanding, in a friendly atmosphere between the players of the two teams. ”
Djurdevic also issued a similar apology via social media, echoing her team’s message.
“I am aware of my mistake and I immediately after the match apologized to the whole Thailand team,” she wrote on an Instagram post.
“I only wanted to address my teammates with the message: ‘now we will start playing defense like them’, I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone.”
A petition then circulated calling for greater accountability.
“An apology is the bare minimum as a human being. But Djurdjevic and the National Volleyball Team represent their country in an official sport with official FIVB rules and those rules need to be upheld to maintain credibility and set the standard for the world,” the petition said.
The FIVB confirmed that Djurdjevic’s sanction is “final,” adding that they are “committed to fostering understanding, solidarity and unity against all forms of discriminatory behavior.”
“The FIVB will continue to work tirelessly with all of its National Federations to ensure that these values are reflected across the whole community,” they added.
In other news, a woman has been arrested for shooting an Asian nail salon owner because she was not happy with the price of her manicure-pedicure.