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Colombia's Edwin Cardona handed five-game ban after eye gesture

Colombia international Edwin Cardona has been handed a five-match ban by FIFA for making a "discriminatory gesture" with his eyes against South Korea, but will not miss his team's opening World Cup games.

Cardona will serve the suspension in international friendlies and will be available for selection for next summer's tournament in Russia.

FIFA opened an investigation after the 24-year-old midfielder made an eye gesture towards South Korea players during a friendly between the sides on Nov. 10.

A FIFA statement read: "The 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.

"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."

FIFA has also fined the player 20,000 Swiss francs (£15,143).

Edwin Cardona has apologised for his actions.

Colombian Football Federation (FCF) president Ramon Jesurun said earlier this month that he was optimistic that Cardona would avoid punishment.

Cardona, 24, came on as a substitute in the game that South Korea won 2-1 in Suwon.

His actions were condemned by the Korean media and captain Ki Sung-Yeung, who described the episode as "racist behaviour."

Cardona, who is playing on loan at Boca Juniors from Mexican side Monterrey, apologised in a video posted on Twitter by the FCF, saying his gesture was "misinterpreted."

Colombia finished fourth in their qualifying campaign, taking CONMEBOL's last direct World Cup spot for Russia.

They begin their World Cup campaign against Japan on June 19 before facing Poland five days later and play their final Group H match against Senegal on June 28.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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