• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Euro 2024: UEFA bans Albania striker Daku for offensive chants

Mirlind Daku

Albania striker Mirlind Daku was banned for two games by UEFA on Sunday after leading fans in derogatory chants with a megaphone following his team’s 2-2 draw against Croatia at Euro 2024.

The 26-year-old Rubin Kazan forward insulted North Macedonia and later apologized, but will now miss his side’s final Group B match against Spain on Monday and a potential last-16 clash.

“Daku will be banned for a total of two UEFA representative team competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible,” UEFA said in a statement.

“The punishment was for failing to comply with the general principles of conduct, for violating the basic rules of decent conduct, for using sports events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature, and for bringing the sport of football into disrepute.”

With one point after two matches in Group B, Albania face possible elimination from the Euro 2024 unless they defeat Spain in Düsseldorf on Monday.

If they are eliminated in the group stage, the second game of Daku’s ban will carry over to the start of the UEFA Nations League in September.

“He knows he made a mistake. He has apologised, and now we need to think about tomorrow’s match,” Albania captain Berat Djimsiti told reporters on Sunday in Düsseldorf.

“I am not here to talk about politics. That is up to UEFA.”

Daku was introduced as a substitute five minutes from the end of Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Croatia in Hamburg and didn’t play at all in his team’s opening 2-1 loss to Italy.

“We are here to play football in a major tournament. We are here to talk about football,” said Sylvinho, Albania coach, when asked about the ban.

“There is not much to say. We can’t waste energy on anything other than preparing for tomorrow’s game.”

UEFA also handed the Albanian Football Association fines totalling €47,500 for several offenses related to the Croatia game. Of that, €25,000 was for “transmitting provocative messages not fit for a sports event,” €20,000 for pitch invasions, and €2,500 was for the lighting of fireworks.

UEFA said investigations into potential racist or discriminatory conduct by supporters in the Croatia match were ongoing.

Serbian Football Association chief Jovan Surbatovic had called for sanctions after claiming supporters had struck up chants hostile to his country.