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By ESPN Staff

UEFA reject Mijailovic appeal against five-match ban

BERN, Switzerland, Nov 1 (Reuters) - UEFA have rejected an appeal by Wisla Krakow's Nikola Mijailovic against his five-match ban for racially abusing Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy.

European soccer's governing body said the case was a significant development in the organisation's tougher stance on racism.

'This is the first case to be heard since UEFA changed its disciplinary statutes in line with FIFA's new guidelines on racism in football,' UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said on Wednesday.

'From now on, any player found guilty of racial abuse will be banned for five matches in the case of a first offence, unless they can offer a credible defence such as, for example, not being able to speak the language that they are accused of having abused the other person in.

'We are determined to eradicate racism. We still have to see what it will take to do that, but we are determined to go all the way.'

UEFA's appeals body heard evidence from both Mijailovic and McCarthy but has not made their testimony public.

Mijailovic, 24, received the ban last month after an investigation following the UEFA Cup match between the sides on Oct. 19, which Blackburn won 2-1.

In a statement on the organisation's Web site, UEFA said it had launched its original inquiry based on an official complaint submitted by Blackburn and after receiving a separate report from the match referee.