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Euro 2020: Marko Arnautovic apologises after offensive slur vs North Macedonia

Marko Arnautovic has denied being a racist after the former West Ham made an offensive slur against North Macedonia, with the Austrian issuing an apology following Sunday's victory.

The attacker got on the scoresheet to wrap up a 3-1 victory for Franco Foda's side in a heated Group C clash in which players from both sides were involved in bust ups throughout.

And former Stoke and West Ham star Arnautovic allegedly made a racial slur following his late strike, saying 'I'm f***ing your Albanian mother' in the direction of Ezgjan Alioski, according to Koha.

Marko Arnautovic has apologised for a slur made on Sunday, but says he is not a racist

The reason for the slur appears to relate to the Kosovo War, in which Serbia and Albania came into conflict over the Kosovo region. Arnautovic, whose father is Serbian, came to blows with Alioski, who can speak Albanian.

The same report suggests that Arnautovic made the slur in Serbian, believing that the Leeds United star would understand him.  

Austria captain David Alaba was seen holding Arnautovic's jaw to stop the striker from speaking. Only when he stopped speaking to Alioski did the former Bayern Munich man release his grip.  

According to reports, Arnautovic allegedly told Ezgjan Alioski 'I'm f***ing your Albanian mother' 

Austria captain Alaba held Arnautovic's jaw, it is understood, to stop him from speaking

The 32-year-old posted a statement on social media to insist he is not racist and has 'friends from almost every country'

SERBIA AND ALBANIA: THE KOSOVO WAR

Marko Arnautovic was born to a Serbian father and Austrian mother and grew up in Vienna, Austria.

Serbian and Montenegrin forces, who had occupied Kosovo at the time, came into conflict with Kosovo Albanian rebel forces (known as the Kosovo Liberation Army) in February 1998.

The KLA were fighting against the Serbian persecution of Kosovo Albanians. 

The conflict ended in March 1999 after NATO launched air strikes, leading to the Serbian-Montenegrins leaving the region. 

Arnautovic has escaped a ban of £7,600 for the statement, with fans calling for UEFA to ban the feisty 32-year-old following the incident. 

The Austrian has taken to social media to apologise for the 'heated words exchanged', before insisting that he is not a racist and has 'friends in almost every country'.

'There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to APOLOGIZE - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,' he wrote.

'I would like to say one thing very clearly: I AM NOT A RACIST! I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that.' 

In 2018, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri were fined £7,600 each after the Swiss duo, who have Albanian links, celebrated by putting their hands together to form a double-headed eagle, similar to the one on the Albanian flag during a game against Serbia.

UEFA have told Sportsmail that 'that there are no disciplinary proceedings opened following the three EURO matches played yesterday (Sunday).' 

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