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Jude Bellingham could avoid a ban from playing because of his celebration gesture

JAKARTA – England star Jude Bellingham is unlikely to be ruled out of the 2024 European Championship quarter-finals against Switzerland, as UEFA has launched an investigation into gestures Real Madrid deemed inappropriate after England equalised against Slovakia.

The 21-year-old is being investigated by regulators for “possible breaches of basic rules of conduct” after he made a gesture towards his groin on Sunday that appeared to be directed at Slovakia's bench.

If the club is found guilty, UEFA has the power to impose a ban for the breach, leading to fears that Bellingham could miss England's next match against Switzerland in Düsseldorf.

After the round of 16 match, Bellingham explained on social media that his actions were “internal jokes” directed not at opponents but at a group of “close friends” sitting near the stands.

Although the final decision has not yet been made, The Mirror reports that Bellingham is unlikely to be banned by UEFA; if convicted, fines are the most likely consequence.

Previous similar cases, such as gestures by Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone in the 2019 Champions League, resulted in fines of around £17,000 each, but no restrictions were imposed.

In a statement released on Monday, UEFA said: “A UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspector will open a disciplinary investigation into possible breaches of fundamental rules of conduct by English football player Jude Bellingham allegedly committed in this match. Information on this matter will be announced in due course.”

The report adds that Bellingham's case is complex due to the lack of clarity over what constitutes an “indecent gesture” and the difficulty of proving that the Real Madrid player intended to attack Slovakia's bench.

The problem arose after Bellingham scored an equaliser against Slovakia with a spectacular corner kick in extra time, forcing the game to go into extra time.

Does Bellingham feel under pressure at the 2024 European Championship?

At just 21 years old, Bellingham entered the European Championship with high hopes, especially given his outstanding performances for Real Madrid last season.

The attacking midfielder played a key role in Los Blancos winning the La Liga and Champions League titles, scoring several important goals in the process.

After his goal was blocked against Slovakia, the 21-year-old shouted “Who else?” In an interview after the game, he said: “Why does 'Who else?' make you so angry? It's a combination of many things.”

“Playing for England is a great feeling, but also a lot of pressure. You hear people talking a lot of nonsense. It's good to be able to give an answer and respond a little,” he said.

England captain Harry Kane scored less than two minutes into the first half of extra time to secure the Three Lions' title at the 2024 European Championship.

Bellingham and the other England players were given time off on Tuesday to spend time with their families before resuming training on Wednesday in preparation for the quarter-final match against Switzerland on Saturday 6 July.

Tag: euro2024 european championship 2024