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Germany's Hunt banned following U-21 conduct

BERN, Switzerland, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen striker Aaron Hunt has been handed a two-match ban by UEFA for 'gross unsporting conduct' during Germany's European under-21 play-off match against England on October 10.

The 20-year-old will miss two national team games after being seen verbally abusing two England players during the match which England went on to win 2-0.

The ruling from UEFA's control and disciplinary board stopped short of mentioning any racist abuse, despite post-match accusations against Hunt by England defenders Micah Richards and Anton Ferdinand.

Hunt denied the accusations, issuing a statement the day after the match to say there had been 'some fierce verbal exchanges' but no racist terms.

FA director of communications Adrian Bevington said: 'We take the issue of racism very seriously and we welcome the fact that UEFA have decided to take action on this case.'

As no match official could corroborate the claims, UEFA brought the charge of gross unsporting conduct rather than one of making racist remarks.

Ferdinand claimed that he was called a 'monkey' by German players but refused to name the supposed culprits publicly, though television pictures show a heated exchange between the West Ham defender and Hunt during the match.

The UEFA investigation follows several recent incidents of racism in Germany.

In September, Germany's Ghanaian-born striker Gerald Asamoah faced racist chants from fans at a cup match between his Schalke 04 and Hansa Rostock's regional league side last month. The German football association fined Rostock 20,000 euros ($25,410).

Last month, players from Jewish club TuS Makkabi in a Berlin district league walked off the pitch 12 minutes from time in protest against anti-Semitic chants from fans and players of the opposing team, VSG Altglienicke.