Soccer player banned for life for Nazi salute
A Greek football player has been banned from playing for his country for life after making a Nazi salute on the pitch. AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis, 20, made the gesture after scoring the winning goal for his team on Saturday. The Greek Football Federation (EPO) acted swiftly in administering its punishment. An EPO statement read: “The player’s action to salute to spectators in a Nazi manner is a severe provocation, insults all the victims of Nazi cruelty and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game.” The player will face a disciplinary hearing next week in which he will have the opportunity to explain his side of the story. It is possible he can continue playing at club level.
Mr Katidis, a former captain of the Greek Under-19 team, admitted that his actions were “stupid”. He told reporters: “I made the mistake so I will be the one to pay for it. AEK is not responsible, so that is why I have decided to put myself out of the team because I have now realized how much I have offended the history of the club.” He added: “Unfortunately, I cannot take the clock back, but I want to clarify that I am not a fascist or neo-Nazi or racist.” AEK’s German coach Ewald Lienen has backed Katidis. He told the Reuters news agency: “Giorgos is a young kid who does not have any political ideas. He most likely saw such a salute on the Internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means.”