AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis has been banned for life from playing for the Greece national team after celebrating a goal with a "Nazi salute."
Katidis raised his right arm and pointed his hand straight after scoring a goal, making the clear gesture of a Nazi salute. The player however, claims that the gesture was unintentional. It was also suggested that Katidis, 20, was not aware of the meaning behind the salute.
On his Twitter account Katidis has stated that he is "not racist" and would never have made the gesture if he knew "it means something." The Brazilian born soccer player continued to proclaim his innocence by stated that he "abhorred fascism."
AEK's German coach Ewald Lienen, said the player doesn't have an "idea about politics."
But officials are not taking the situation lightly. Soccer fans took to social media almost immediately after Katidis' gesture, stating that it was offensive. In response the Greece soccer federation (EPO) has banned the player from the national team for life.
The organization said Sunday that Katidis' gesture was "a deep insult to all victims of Nazi brutality." AEK Athens has also called for an immediate discontinuation of Katidis' contract according to Enet, a Greek site.
The EPO also stated that Katidis' gesture brought on "injury" to the "human character" of soccer.
"The Greek Football Federation will take all appropriate steps to preserve the peaceful nature of football, and to promote the values of solidarity, cooperation and respect that it professes," the EPO said according to ENet.