Soccer

Katidis receives 5-match ban

AEK Athens
AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture.
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ATHENS, Greece (AP)

Giorgios Katidis, who caused widespread outrage after his goal celebration in his team's win over Veroia, has been banned for five games.

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.

A Greek Football Association disciplinary panel also ordered 20-year-old attacking midfielder Katidis to pay a 1,000 euro ($1,300) fine and be banned from attending professional games for three months.

Katidis, a former under-21 national team captain, has been suspended by AEK until the end of the season and received a lifetime national team ban.

He has repeatedly apologized for his action, initially insisting that he was unaware the straight-hand salute was associated with Nazi Germany.

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."

AEK is currently 12th in Greece's 16-team league with 30 points from 27 matches.

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