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French rugby player gets 26-week ban for 'banana eater' racist insult

French scrum-half Ludovic Radosavljevic has been banned for 26 weeks after he was found guilty of calling an opponent a “banana eater" and threatening to burn him during a match.

Radosavljevic, who plays for Provence in France's ProD2 league and previously played for Clermont and Castres, was found guilty of "verbal offenses and provocations" and also "verbal aggression (including, any aggression based on religion, colour, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation)" by a Ligue Nationale de Rugby disciplinary panel, after he used racist remarks towards Nevers player Christian Ambadiang.

The entry point for Radosavljevic's suspension was the maximum of 52 weeks, with the panel taking into account Radosavljevic's public admission of guilt and apologies to Ambadiang both in the dressing room and publicly on social media, as well as his clean disciplinary record. As a result, his suspension was halved, with Radosavljevic now banned until April 25.

Ambadiang addressed the comments earlier this month on Instagram, stating that Radosavljevic's explanation at the time that the remarks were "in the heat of moments (sic) which he seems to want to justify what he said is utterly unacceptable and in bad taste."

Ambadiang added: "It is crazy to think that in the rugby community such racist incidents should be swept under the carpet and condoned in private. I know that there are people that have experienced blatant racism and that are afraid to stand up for themselves publicly only to protect those people’s reputation privately." 

Both the LNR and ProD2 were tagged in Ambadiang's post, with the player receiving supportive replies from Ugo Monye, Simon Zebo and Mathieu Bastareaud.

a close up of a man in a baseball uniform holding a football ball: Ludovic Radosavljevic - French rugby player gets 26-week ban for 'banana eater' racist insult - REMY GABALDA/AFP

© REMY GABALDA/AFP Ludovic Radosavljevic - French rugby player gets 26-week ban for 'banana eater' racist insult - REMY GABALDA/AFP

Zebo also separately commented on the situation, calling for Radosavljevic to receive a life ban.

A translation of Radosavljevic's statement when he apologised to Ambadiang on Instagram read: “Following recent events, and after an apology immediately offered in the dressing room, today I would like to publicly and officially present my apologies to Christian Ambadiang, for my unacceptable remarks.

“Following a chain of events in a tense match, my words went beyond my thought. I know how serious my actions were and take full responsibility, also apologising to all the people who were shocked by this.

“It is not part of my values nor of those that I pass on to my children. I remain a human who makes mistakes and learns from them.”

A translation of Radosavljevic's statement when he apologised to Ambadiang on Instagram read: “Following recent events, and after an apology immediately offered in the dressing room, today I would like to publicly and officially present my apologies to Christian Ambadiang, for my unacceptable remarks.

“Following a chain of events in a tense match, my words went beyond my thought. I know how serious my actions were and take full responsibility, also apologising to all the people who were shocked by this.

“It is not part of my values nor of those that I pass on to my children. I remain a human who makes mistakes and learns from them.” 

Reference: The Telegraph: Ben Coles 

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