Controversial midfielder for the Colombian national team, Edwin Cardona, received a five-game ban as punishment for the racist “slant eyes” gesture he made during a friendly match with South Korea earlier in November.
On top of the five-game ban, Cardona also has to pay a 20,000 Swiss Franc ($20,201) fine, according to a statement FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) released on Tuesday.
“Colombian player Edwin Cardona has been sanctioned for making a discriminatory gesture at an opponent during the friendly match played between the representative teams of Korea Republic and Colombia on 10 November 2017,” the statement read.
“Cardona has received a five-match suspension on the basis of art. 58 par. 1a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, with the suspension to be served during the upcoming friendly matches of the Colombian representative team, as well as a stadium ban for those five matches and a fine of CHF 20,000.”
Cardona, who also plays for the Argentina Boca Juniors club football team, made the racist gesture to mock the South Korean soccer team during a friendly match last month when the latter won by 2-1. He is expected to return after his suspension some time before the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in June, Channel NewsAsia reported.
Just a day after the incident, the 25-year-old soccer player took to Twitter to apologize for the racist gesture.
“I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry,” Cardona said in a video posted on Colombia’s official soccer team Twitter account.
— Selección Colombia (@FCFSeleccionCol) November 10, 2017
“I want to say I am not an aggressive person,” Cardona said. “I am sorry that something that happened during the game has been misinterpreted.”