Sunday, July 14, 2024

Euro 2024: Uefa open Jude Bellingham investigation after gesture – BBC


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Jude Bellingham: You hear people talk a lot of rubbish
Uefa is investigating England midfielder Jude Bellingham for a gesture he made following his late equaliser against Slovakia in Sunday's Euro 2024 last-16 tie.
European football's governing body said it is looking into a "potential violation" of "the basic rules of decent conduct" by Bellingham.
Bellingham was seen making a crotch-grabbing gesture towards the Slovakian bench after scoring an overhead kick in stoppage time.
The Real Madrid player denied it was aimed at England's opponents, saying on social media that it was an inside joke directed towards some close friends.
If found to have breached the rules, the 21-year-old could face a suspension, a fine or both.
The rule in question is article 11/2b, which requires anyone subject to Uefa regulations to respect the "principles of ethical conduct, loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship".
Anyone whose conduct is "insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct" could be in breach.
England won 2-1 after extra time to set up a quarter-final meeting with Switzerland on Saturday.
Responding to the incident on social media, Bellingham said: "An inside-joke gesture towards some close friends who were at the game.
"Nothing but respect for how that Slovakia team played tonight."
Bellingham has made a similar gesture when playing for Real Madrid and after scoring a late equaliser for England in a friendly against Belgium in March.
After Sunday's dramatic win, Bellingham said it was nice to give a "little bit back" as he responded to England's critics.
"You hear people talk a lot of rubbish. It's nice when you can deliver and give them a little bit back," the 21-year-old added.
Cristiano Ronaldo was fined but avoided a ban for making a similar gesture while celebrating a goal for Juventus against Atletico Madrid in the second leg of a Champions League last-16 tie in 2019.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone was also fined for making the gesture during the first leg.
Analysis – Dan Roan, sports editor
Jude Bellingham and Gareth Southgate now face a nervous wait while Uefa's inspector decides whether to charge the player. I'm told the investigation could take several days to complete.
So what punishment could he be looking at, if charged and then found guilty?
In February, Cristiano Ronaldo was banned for a match in the Saudi Pro League after making an obscene gesture towards the crowd during a game.
However, the Portuguese superstar and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone were merely fined by Uefa after each gesturing towards their crotch in separate incidents in 2019.
A fine is understood to be more likely than a suspension in Bellingham's case, but much will depend on his explanation, and how the Slovakia team viewed the incident.
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