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Alioski reported to the FA for pulling a silly face
Saturday, 15th May 2021 22:18 by Tim Whelan

After all the excitement of this afternoon’s 4-0 over Burnley at Turf Moor, we learned that Ezgjan Alioski has been reported for his hilarious reaction to Dwight McNeil’s accusation that he made the most of a challenge.

The incident happened with 20 minutes of the game to go, after Alioski went to ground after a slight contact from McNeil, who clearly thought he had gone down a bit too easily and then feigned injury as he lay on the floor. After McNeil stood over him to say something and Alioski responded by sticking his tongue out at McNeil and put his hands on his ears, before repeating the gesture towards the Burnley bench.

Referee Graham Scott went over to talk to Sean Dyche and Marcelo Bielsa, then spoke to captains Ben Mee and Luke Ayling, before he restarted play. After the game Dyche said “A report has come into the referee and that will be passed on to the FA. One of our players made the report and I was there to be a witness to the report, not the incident. The report has been made with the referee and that’s where it will stay for now.”

While Marcelo Bielsa made the Arsene Wenger defence. “I didn’t see that there was an incident between the two. If there was a gesture I didn’t see it. I saw there was a dispute but I didn’t think it was too different to what usually happens within a game.” And he refused to divulge a conversation he’d had with the official, saying it was up the referee to make it public if he wished to do so.

Dyche substituted McNeil shortly afterwards, though the Burnley manager said this wasn’t because of the clash with Alioski. In his post match press conference he said “I was going to take Dwight off. He’s put in a lot of effort this season and done very well over this season. This was the first time he’s looked a bit jaded. I was nearly going to leave him out before the game, he’s put a big shift in this season.”

But while the two managers have remained tight-lipped about what exactly was discussed and what is in the report, there are plenty of accusations and counter- accusations flying about on social media this evening. One is that McNeil spat on Alioski while he stood over him, but although a bit of gob might have come out of his mouth while he was shouting, the chances are that he wasn’t intentionally spitting.

But while McNeil might have accidentally released a bit of spit, it’s been suggested that Alioski might have been accidentally racist. It seems that the problem is that McNeil is mixed race, and the face that Alioski pulled could be interpreted as a monkey gesture. But the chances are that Alioski didn’t know he’s mixed race, and certainly the BT Sport commentary team didn’t, as they found the footage hilarious, without mentioning any possible racial element.

Nor were the Leeds fans on social media initially aware of McNeil’s background, as most just thought Alioski’s face-pulling was very very funny. We all know he’s as mad as a box of frogs, and would just have been intent on winding up the opposition, as he always does. Ironically this comes just a few days after the Macedonian said “Leeds United changed my life. I’m calmer, more experienced and more mature now.” So god knows how barmy he was before!

Did Alioski say anything that isn’t apparent on the footage, or was McNeil just desperately searching for something to be offended by? It will be fascinating to see how this plays out, but at least we can be sure that it won’t affect Leeds United, with Alioski likely to leave the club as a free agent in the summer. There is no way any hearing will take place in time for him to be banned before the final two games of the season.

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