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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Football Authorities Are the New Self-Appointed Thought Police

The 20-year-old Greek football player Giorgos Katidis, AEK Athens midfielder, has been banned for life from all national teams by Greece's Football Association after he stretched his arm and gave what looked like a Nazi salute to supporters in celebrating his winning goal during a match at the Athens Olympic Stadium.

Giorgos Katidis has been verbally attacked by political parties and fans as well, also in view of the fact that Sunday is the 70th anniversary of Greek Jews' deportations to Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

The real fascists here are those who banned him. The Greek FA said in a statement: "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".

Incredibly severe words and terribly harsh punishment for a 20-year-old who denied he gave a Nazi salute and said he would not have made the gesture if he had known what it meant, adding that he was only pointing at his team mate Michalis Pavlis in the stands to dedicate the goal to him, who is fighting against health problems.

The coach of Katidis' team AEK Athens, Ewald Lienen, supported him, saying that he is a non-political young kid, who did not know what he was doing and cried in the dressing room after seeing the reaction.

Have the football authorities, in Greece as in Britain and all over Europe, appointed themselves as guardians of political correctness? Does football now have to police thought and speech, in an Orwellian fashion?

And, crucially, would Giorgos Katidis have been banned for life, if he had given the communist clenched fist salute?

Globally, communist regimes killed 94 million people, as opposed to the 11 million killed by Nazism.

The double standard is cowardly and revolting.

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