A Serbian volleyball player came under fire last week, after she made a "slant-eyed" gesture while playing against the Thailand team.
The incident happened during the FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2021 match in Rimini, Italy.
Sanja Djurdjevic was found to have violated disciplinary regulations after she drew two fingers to the side of her face to mock Thai players, during the televised match on June 1.
According to the WorldofVolley, Djurdjevic subsequently came under criticism from fans of the sport, who called out her offensive gesture.
On June 1, the Serbian Volleyball Federation issued an apology on social media, saying that the incident was unfortunate, and that Djurdjevic had apologised to the entire Thailand team.
They added that she had meant no disrespect.
Please, don't blow this out of proportion. Sanja is aware of her mistake and she immediately apologized to the whole Thailand team. She only wanted to show her teammates "let's start playing defense like them now", she didn't mean any disrespect. Of course, it was unfortunate. https://t.co/UOkkYloeXd pic.twitter.com/knyz8mMnxv— OSSRB (@ossrb) June 1, 2021
Subsequently, on June 7, the FIVB disciplinary sub-committee announced that Djurdjevic had been banned from two games as as result of the incident, and her federation fined 20,000 Swiss francs (S$29,500).
They added that the sanction was final, with the disciplinary panel reserving the right to re-open proceedings if Djurdjevic fails to serve it.
On top of the ban, FIVB said that it would donate the fine imposed on her federation to a cause dedicated to tackling discriminatory behaviour and/or to fund educational programmes on cultural sensitivity for the global Volleyball Family.
The gesture comes weeks before the Serbia team, who are ranked eighth in the world, travel to Tokyo for the Olympic Games.
Top image via BMTV YouTube