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Greek Player Who Gave Nazi Salute After Goal Banned For Life


Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer
March 17, 2013 at 9:09 am

This weekend marked the 70th anniversary of the roundup and deportation of Greek Jews to Nazi extermination camps during World War II. What better way to commemorate such a somber occasion than by giving a full-on Nazi salute after scoring a game-winning goal in the Greek Super League?

Giorgos Katidis

AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis scored on a late deflection on Saturday, giving his club a 2-1 Super League victory over Veria.

Like his toe-poke deflection, his celebration choice may have just been instinct as well, but giving the Nazi salute was clearly a bad first touch. For his actions, Greece’s soccer federation EPO handed Katidis a lifetime ban from all national soccer teams. “The player’s action to salute to spectators in a Nazi manner is a severe provocation, insults all the victims of Nazi bestiality and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game,” EPO said.

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The odd salute and federation’s ban comes at a time when Greece’s Golden Dawn Party is improbably gaining in popularity. The Neo-Nazi political party swept into parliament with 18 seats in last year’s election.

The 20-year-old Katidis had previously been a captain for Greece’s Under-19 team. Even his teammates who caught the gesture were left confused:

Giorgos Katidis

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Katidis took to Twitter to plead ignorance, telling fans “I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant.”

Giorgos Katidis twitter greek

Here’s a rough English translation:

Giorgos Katidis twitter english translate

Katidis said he was simply pointing at injured teammate Michalis Pavlis in the stands, dedicating the game-winning goal to his buddy.

AEK’s coach defended his player: “He is a young kid who does not have any political ideas,” he said. “He most likely saw such a salute on the Internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means.”

Giorgos Katidis’ coach is Ewald Lienen … from Germany.

It all happened very quickly. Here’s the goal and celebration:

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