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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

UEFA hands out 10-match 'quenelle' ban

UEFA has suspended Royal Belgian Football Association futsal player Omar Rahou for 10 games after the player made the "quenelle" gesture at the UEFA Futsal Euro 2014 tournament.

Rahou made the gesture as he celebrated a goal during Belgium’s 6-1 group stage win over Romania in Antwerp on Jan. 28, and UEFA reports that the player made it known "several times" that the gesture was indeed the "quenelle."

UEFA’s disciplinary inspector conducted an investigation into the facts of this case, concluding that the gesture has discriminatory connotations, and finding that Rahou should be punished in line with Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (racism, other discriminatory conduct and propaganda).

A UEFA statement read: "At today's meeting (March 4), 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."

The ban applies to "the next ten UEFA national team competition matches and/or UEFA club competition matches."

Rahou’s ban follows the English FA handing Nicolas Anelka a five-match ban for using the ‘quenelle’ gesture as he celebrated scoring in West Brom's 3-3 draw with West Ham on Dec. 28.

Anelka protested his innocence throughout, though the FA's general secretary David Horner has since suggested the organisation could look to extend the West Brom striker’s suspension.

The 'quenelle' involves pointing one straightened arm downward while touching the shoulder with the opposite hand. It was popularised by French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been convicted multiple times for inciting racial hatred or anti-Semitism.

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