The growing sentiment of neo-fascism in Greece appears to have spread to the beautiful game, as AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis "pulled a Di Canio" by apparently giving a Nazi salute after scoring in his side's 2-1 victory over Veria on Saturday.
For the gesture, the tattooed 20-year-old has been handed a life ban from the Greek National team, whom he once captained at U-19 level. Katidis, however, will not join Di Canio and Christian Abbiati in the pantheon of proud football fascists, as he has denied knowing what the gesture meant on Twitter.
The BBC reports:
The Greek football federation called it "a severe provocation" that insulted "all the victims of Nazi bestiality".
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," Katidis said on his Twitter account.
He insisted he was simply pointing at a team mate in the stands.
The "pointing at a team mate" excuse is painfully unlikely, but it is quite possible that Katidis is naive/stupid enough to not know the meaning of his offensive celebration. (After all, this is a man half-witted enough to apparently have "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" tattooed just above his junk.)
While the club will decide his future at a board meeting next week, AEK's German manager Ewald Lienen has supported his midfielder, insisting he is apolitical and probably saw the salute "on the internet or somewhere else" without knowing what it meant. Which seems a perfectly good defense for repeating it in front of thousands of people.
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