Journalist receives immediate ban from all Euro 2024 matches after incendiary gesture during England vs Serbia

A journalist has received an immediate ban from all Euro 2024 matches after making an incendiary political gesture during England’s encounter with Serbia.

On Monday it emerged that UEFA had banned Kosovar journalist Arlind Sadiku from reporting on Euro 2024 games after he directed an Albanian ‘eagle’ hand gesture towards Serbian fans during a live broadcast before their match with England.

As per the Guardian, Sadiku, who reports for the television channel Artmotion, was refused entry to Albania’s press conference on Tuesday and has since had his accreditation confiscated.

Artmotion was allegedly told by UEFA that Sadiku’s pass had been cancelled with immediate effect due to “misconduct at the match between Serbia and England”.

Journalist receives immediate ban from all Euro 2024 matches after incendiary gesture during England vs Serbia

Sadiku had been reporting in a position in front of thousands of Serbia fans, with many chanting the phrase “Kosovo je srce Srbije”, which translates to “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia”.

Towards the end of his television segment, he looked towards that crowd and made the ‘eagle’ gesture with his hands.

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s independence, with relations having continued to be tense since the Kosovo war ended in 1999.

Ethnic Albanians make up some 93 per cent of Kosovo’s population and the two countries share a close bond. Indeed, the ‘eagle’ symbol represents the double-headed eagle on Albania’s flag and will be considered incendiary given the history of animosity with Serbia.

Sadiku, who claims he had received death threats via social media since making the symbol, said: “People don’t know how I was feeling in that moment because I have trauma from the war.

The Albanian eagle gesture can be incendiary depending on who it is directed to (Getty)


The Albanian eagle gesture can be incendiary depending on who it is directed to (Getty)

“My house was bombed in the middle of the night when I was a child, I was sleeping and remember waking up with glass and blood all over my face and body. I know it was unprofessional from a journalist’s perspective, but seeing my family in that situation was traumatic for me and I can’t forget it.”

Meanwhile, Uefa statement read: “Uefa can confirm that one journalist has had his accreditation cancelled due to misconduct at the Uefa Euro 2024 match between Serbia and England on 16 June 2024. This reporter can be replaced by another journalist from the same organisation for the remainder of the tournament.”

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