Austria coach Ralf Rangnick drops three players for homophobic chanting

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Austria coach Ralf Rangnick has dropped three players from the national team because they took part in anti-gay chants after the Vienna derby last month.

Rapid Vienna players Marco Grüll, Guido Burgstaller and goalkeeper Niklas Hedl were not included in Rangnick’s team for games against Slovakia and Turkey after they were filmed taking part in the chanting following a 3-0 win against Austria Vienna on February 25.

“This is something that I will not tolerate in a team where I am a coach, whether in a club or here with the national team,” Rangnick said when he made his squad announcement on Monday evening.

“Everything we stand for with the national team is at the other end of the scale, and I told the boys that on the phone.”

The former Manchester United and RB Leipzig coach said the players’ exclusion was not permanent, leaving open the possibility they could be recalled for the European Championship.

“In that case, I expect the boys to take this issue seriously and understand what it means for people when they are publicly insulted or discriminated against in such a way,” Rangnick said.

Grüll, Burgstaller and Hedl were among five Rapid Vienna players banned by the Austrian Bundesliga for several games last week because of the anti-gay chanting, as were Rapid managing director Steffen Hofmann and assistant coach Stefan Kulovits.

The players were also ordered to take part in workshops on the issue of discrimination. Hofmann was banned for two months with one month suspended, and Kulovits was banned for three with one month suspended, while he must also attend a discrimination workshop.

Austria are in Group D with France, the Netherlands and a playoff winner at Euro 2024, which will be hosted in Germany from June 14 to July 14.

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