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Belgian banned for 'quenelle' gesture

Belgian Omar Rahou has been suspended for 10 matches for making an alleged anti-Semitic 'quenelle' salute at a European championship five-a-side futsal match, UEFA said on Tuesday.

West Bromwich Albion's French forward Nicolas Anelka was handed a five-match ban and fined 80 000 pounds last month for making the same gesture during an English Premier League match in December.

Photo by Steve Haag. Credit: Gallo Images

Anelka had claimed the gesture, an inverted Nazi salute which has been linked to anti-Semitism, was a tribute to French comedian friend Dieudonne who invented it.

UEFA said Rahou, a 21-year-old forward, made the gesture several times while celebrating a goal during a 6-1 win over Romania in Antwerp in January.

Futsal is a mainly indoor type of soccer, played on a smaller pitch and with five players on either side including the goalkeepers.

European soccer's ruling body said its control and disciplinary committee had ruled that Rahou's gesture was in breach of article 14 of its regulations that referred to racism, other discriminatory conduct and propaganda.

The article states that any person who “insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons by whatever means, including on the grounds of skin colour, race, religion or ethnic origin, incurs a suspension lasting at least 10 matches or a specified period of time.”

Rahou was given leave to appeal.

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