Serbian volleyball player banned, fined for racist gesture
MANILA, Philippines—The FIVB banned Serbian international Sanja Djurdjevic for two matches for her racist gesture during her team’s match against Thailand in the Volleyball Women’s Nations League last week.
Apart from the ban, the Volleyball Federation of Serbia will pay 20,000 Swiss francs ($22,325) in fines.
“The FIVB Disciplinary Panel Sub-Committee, which is the independent body competent to impose disciplinary sanctions within FIVB competitions, has found that Ms. Sanja Djurdjevic, a player of the Serbia women’s national volleyball team, violated the FIVB Disciplinary Regulations following a gesture made during the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2021 match between Serbia and Thailand on 1 June 2021,” posted the FIVB on its official website on Monday.
“The FIVB will donate the fine to a cause dedicated to tackling discriminatory behavior and/or to fund educational programs on cultural sensitivity for the global Volleyball Family.”
Djurdevic served the first part of her ban in Serbia’s match against Belgium on Tuesday and she will also be suspended for the game against Canada on Saturday.
The FIVB deemed that Djurdevic’s actions won’t be tolerated and that the sanction was final.
“The FIVB is 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,” wrote the sport’s governing body.
The Serbian volleyball federation has since apologized for the incident and has accepted the FIVB’s sanction.
“We want to avail ourself of the opportunity to thank the FIVB Disciplinary Panel for the balanced interpretation of the facts and the overall understanding of our arguments, that the situation in question wasn’t meant to be provocative or insulting,” posted the Federation on Twitter.
“We understand the point of view of the FIVB, even if, as we argued, culturally, we see this gesture as rather affectionate, that it may be interpreted in a negative way by the Asian people. Once again, our sincere apologies to all affected and big thanks to the Thailand Volleyball Association for understanding and friendly attitude. We assure all Asian volleyball federations and associations of our heartfelt friendship,” it added.