Italian striker Antonio Cassano has been fined €15,000 for anti-gay comments he made in the run-up to the Euro 2012 championships.

The Milan player’s fine was announced by UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations, today.

Cassano, 29, usually plays for AC Milan but had been answering a question about rumours of two gay players in the Italy squad ahead of this summer’s championships in Poland and Ukraine.

He had responded: “The coach warned me that you would ask me this question. If I say what I think… I hope there are none. But if there are queers here, that’s their business.”

UEFA said today: “Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings against Italy’s Antonio Cassano for a discriminatory press statement (Art. 11bis of the Disciplinary Regulations) during UEFA EURO 2012, the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has decided to impose a fine of €15,000 on the player.

“An appeal can be lodged against this decision within three days of the dispatch of the full written decision.”

Cassano had issued a statement shortly after the original comments saying he did not pass judgement on others.

He said: “I sincerely regret that my statements have sparked controversy and protest from gay rights groups.

“Homophobia is a sentiment that is not mine. I did not want to offend anyone and I can not question the sexual freedom of other people.

“I only said that it is a problem that does not concern me and it is not for me to pass judgment on the choices of others, who are all respected.”