Futsal player banned for 'quenelle' gesture

UEFA have banned Belgium futsal player Omar Rahou for 10 matches for performing the controversial 'quenelle' salute after scoring a goal.

The 21-year-old was representing his country in the UEFA Futsal Championship in Antwerp in January when he made the gesture, which West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka also performed during a Premier League match last December.

Former France international Anelka was last week banned for five matches and fined £80,000 by the Football Association as a result of his celebration after finding the back of the net against West Ham in December.

UEFA have decided to dish out a longer ban to Rahou, whose 'quenelle' gesture - which has been described as an inverted Nazi salute - came after he scored in a 6-1 defeat against Romania at the group stage of the UEFA Futsal Championship in his homeland.

A statement from the governing body released on Tuesday said: "The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has today suspended the Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA/KBVB) futsal player Omar Rahou for the next ten (10) UEFA national team competition matches and/or UEFA club competition matches for making the "quenelle" gesture at UEFA Futsal EURO 2014.

"The gesture was made at the group match between Belgium and Romania (6-1), which was played in Antwerp on 28 January 2014. During the above-mentioned match, Omar Rahou, when celebrating a goal, made the gesture known as the "quenelle" several times. 

"Just after the match, the UEFA Disciplinary Inspector conducted an investigation into the facts of this case.

"He concluded that the gesture has discriminatory connotations and, consequently, that the player should be punished in accordance with Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (Racism, other discriminatory conduct and propaganda).

"At today's meeting, the Control and Disciplinary Body deemed this gesture to be in breach of Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and has imposed a ten-match suspension."

UEFA confirmed that Rahou has the right to appeal against his punishment.