FIFA have banned England and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli for one game following an offensive gesture he made during the Three Lions' match with Slovakia.
News of the sanction came courtesy of Rob Harris of the Press Association:
Rob Harris @RobHarris
Breaking: Dele Alli banned for only ONE game by FIFA for offensive & unsporting” gesture. Misses penultimate World Cup qualifier v Slovenia2017-9-29 10:52:28
The ban means Alli will miss the team's clash with Slovenia on Thursday in their FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
As noted by Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports, there were fears that Alli would be banned for as many as four matches, meaning he may have potentially missed a World Cup group game.
Oliver Holt of the Mail on Sunday was confused by FIFA’s decision to suspend the former MK Dons man:
Oliver Holt @OllieHolt22
So Fifa ban Dele Alli for a game even though they accept gesture wasn't aimed at the referee. In turns pathetic and bizarre2017-9-29 10:55:58
Alli was caught on camera brandishing his middle finger at someone during the game, which England won 2-1.
On social media after the match, the 21-year-old provided further details, saying the incident was a joke between himself and former Tottenham team-mate Kyle Walker:
Just to clarify, the gesture tonight was a joke between me and my good friend Kyle Walker! Apologies for any offence caused! Great win 2nite2017-9-4 22:04:07
Walker posted the following light-hearted response:
Kyle Walker @kylewalker2
Morning @dele_official 😂😂😂 https://t.co/Bl1pl3tYxu2017-9-5 09:34:44
However, FIFA believe the issue is serious enough to slap Alli with the sanction aforementioned, and while he was included in Gareth Southgate’s most recent England squad, he will not be involved against Slovenia.
Alli has cemented his position in the England team over the past couple of years, though his absence shouldn’t be too catastrophic for his national side.
Not only should England have too much for their opponents at Wembley on the night, the team has a five-point cushion at the top of the group with two games left to play. With a trip to Lithuania to come after the Slovenia fixture, there’s little danger of England missing out on next summer’s showpiece in Russia.