Greek player in trouble over Nazi salute, pleads ignorance | inside World Soccer

AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis has triggered an outrage on social media in Greece after appearing to give a Nazi salute in celebration of his winning goal on Saturday.

Giorgos Katidis raises his hand in a Nazi-style salute as AEK teammate Roger Guerreiro looks on
Giorgos Katidis raises his hand in a Nazi-style salute as AEK teammate Roger Guerreiro looks on

Photo: AP

Photographs show him giving a Nazi salute after scoring the winning goal in the 84th minute in their 2-1 Super League victory over lowly Veria at the Olympic Stadium.

Whilst a social media storm broke out as soon as Katidis pulled out the Nazi salute, the player pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture.

"I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant," Katidis said on his Twitter account.

The 20-year-old said he was simply pointing at Michalis Pavlis in the stands to dedicate the goal to his team mate as he continues to fight health problems.

He later told SportFM radio: "I would like to clear up what is a simple misunderstanding. It did not mean anything at all relating to fascism.

"I'm a footballer and I celebrated like that just to get the people on their feet and only that. I understand the heated feelings I have created and I apologise for that."

AEK's German coach, Ewald Lienen, known for his left-wing views, also defended Katidis.

Lienen said: "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.

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

"That's why we shouldn’t condemn him. Any footballer who knows about my past, where I'm from and my political beliefs would know that would know that such a gesture would lead to that being his last game for AEK."


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