Greek footballer gets national team life ban for Nazi salute

Giorgios Katidis, who caused widespread outrage after his goal celebration in his team's win over Veroia, has been outlawed from playing for Greece by the Greek FA
Greek footballer Giorgios Katidis has been given a life ban from playing for Greece after his Nazi-style salute following his winner in AEK Athens' 2-1 victory over Veroia on Saturday.

The former Greece Under-19 captain sparked large-scale condemnation amongst his club's supporters, who berated him on Twitter and Facebook, after he raised his arm straight in front of him in salute after his goal in the Greek Super League game.

And on Sunday it has been revealed that the Greek FA following an extra-ordinary meeting has decided to hand him a life ban from playing for the national team.

"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," the Greek FA said in a statement.

The 20-year-old midfielder had pleaded ignorance via his Twitter account to issue an apology.

"I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant," Katidis tweeted.

Katidis, who has featured in 20 league games this campaign, was also supported by AEK's head coach, Ewald Lienen.

"He is a young kid who does not have any political ideas," the 59-year-old German said in his player's defence.

"He most likely saw such a salute on the internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means.

"I am 100 per cent sure Giorgos did not know what he did. He was crying in the dressing room seeing the reaction."