A LEEDS UNITED player has been cleared after a "cry baby" gesture he made during a game was deemed not to be discriminatory.

The FA has announced today that Gjanni (Ezgjan) Alioski, will not face any disciplinary action relating to a face he pulled during his side's game against Burnley FC, at Turf Moor Stadium, on Saturday, May 15.

A player for the Lancashire-based side, managed by Sean Dyche, made a complaint during the game, as they felt the gesture - made in the 69th minute and captured on footage - "could potentially be perceived as discriminatory".

The Burnley player that the gesture was made towards did not see it at the time and the complaint was made by a teammate.

Alioski, who has been turning out for North Macedonia at this summer's Euro 2020 competition and scored in his side's 2-1 defeat to Ukraine, denied the allegation when speaking to match officials after the match.

He said that he had mockingly imitated a "cry baby" gesture in response to having earlier been referred to as one by an opposition player.  

(This tweet has been shared to show a video of the gesture and The T&A does not necessarily endorse the views outlined in the text of the post.)

The FA launched a full investigation immediately.

This included gathering statements from all relevant players and officials, and all witnesses were shown video footage of the gesture.

Alioski was interviewed by The FA and maintained his account to the match officials throughout that his gesture had not been discriminatory at any point or been intended to be discriminatory. 

One Burnley player told the panel they had referred to Alioski as a "cry baby" and another stated that he believed Alioski was acting childishly.

The FA said in a statement: "No witnesses that were interviewed conclusively believed Alioski had made a discriminatory gesture."

The original complainant maintained that the gesture could be perceived as discriminatory, but admitted it could also be perceived as a childish schoolyard gesture. 

The FA said: "Based on all the available evidence in the case, The FA is not satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to charge Alioski with a breach of FA Rule E3.2 and he will face no further action.

"The FA is satisfied that the complaint was made in good faith and there is no suggestion of this being an intentionally false or malicious allegation.

"All complaints and allegations of discriminatory abuse are taken extremely seriously, and The FA encourages all participants who believe that they have been subject or witness to such conduct to report it through the appropriate channels."

Alioski was at the centre of controversy during North Macedonia's first group game at Euro 2020 against Austria on June 13, which they lost 3-1.

Austria's 32-year-old forward, Marko Arnautovic, came off the bench to score his side's third goal and celebrated with a tirade against Alioski.

It was reported that the Austrian had used racially charged language, but a disciplinary investigation by UEFA found that he had not insulted “the human dignity of a person”.

He was instead found guilty of insulting an opponent and UEFA handed the fiery forward a one match ban, meaning he missed out on his country's 2-0 loss to the Netherlands last Thursday (June 17).

Had Arnautovic been found guilty of using racially charged language, he would have faced a suspension of at least 10 games.