Greek football player Giorgos Katidis has been banned for life from playing for the national team after making a Nazi salute.
AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis, 20, made the gesture to celebrate his winning goal during a Saturday match.
The Greek football federation called it “a severe provocation” that insulted “all the victims of Nazi bestiality”.
Giorgos Katidis denied he gave a Nazi salute.
“I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant,” Giorgos Katidis said on his Twitter account.
Girgos Katidis – a former captain of Greece’s under-19 team – was fiercely criticized on social media for the salute after scoring the winner in AEK’s 2-1 victory over Veria in the Olympic stadium on Saturday.The player insisted he was simply pointing at a team mate in the stands.
The club have asked him to explain himself at a board meeting next week.
AEK’s German coach Ewald Lienen has backed Giorgos Katidis.
“He 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,” Ewald Lienen said, according to Reuters news agency.