Some players find it hard to contain their emotions after scoring which has led to the trend of over celebrating. Backflips, knee slides and shirt removing are some of the many methods used to show the adulation of hitting the back of the net. But occasionally some players take it a step too far and spark controversy like in the case of Robbie Fowler. In 1999, the former Liverpool striker was fined £60,000 by his club for bringing the game into disrepute after he celebrated scoring against rivals Everton by going down on his hands and knees and simulating snorting cocaine using the chalked white goal line as a substitute for the drug. Similarly Paul Gascoigne found himself in hot water at Rangers when, after scoring against arch rivals Celtic in 1998, he proceeded to simulate playing the flute, a Loyalist symbol, much to the annoyance of the travelling Catholic Celtic support.
The latest player to join this illustrious club is Greek midfielder Giorgos Katidis. The 20-year-old AEK Athens player is at the centre of a media storm after his goal celebration on Saturday during Athens game against Veria. With his side drawing the match 1-1 with less than six minutes left on the clock, Katidis got his toe onto a wayward shot by teammate Giorgos Koutroumbis to put AEK into a 2-1 lead. Katidis, with the emotions pumping through his veins proceeded to run towards the Athens fans and removed his shirt. What he did next has shocked the game as he threw up his right arm and making a Nazi salute.
As his teammates ran to celebrate with him, quick thinking AEK Athens coaching staff pull his arm down but it was too late as thousands of pictures and videos of the salute had already been taken. The pictures have gone viral and cause outrage across the world with many condemning the actions of the player. Forced to act, the Greek FA ( Hellenic Football Federation) have come out publicly blasting the player for his actions and now banning him for life from playing for any Greek national team. In a statement, the FA deemed his actions to be “inappropriate” and “in bad taste”:
The action by the player to salute spectators with a Nazi salute defies common sense, profoundly shows disrespect to all the victims of Nazi atrocities and injures the peaceful and deeply human character of football. The Greek football federation condemns unequivocally and categorically such actions. We 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.
Surprisingly the club has come out defending the player with German coach Ewald Lienen claiming that the player had no knowledge of what the salute meant and had seen it on the internet. He talked about how distraught the player was in the dressing room after the game, when he realised what he had done. He went on to say that Katidis is a young kid who does not have any political ideas and this was unlike him. However AEK has yet to confirm if the player still has a future at the club, stating only that he will appear before an internal disciplinary committee before being sent away on an extended break until a decision can be made about his future.
Katidis appears to be regretting his actions, immediately taking to Twitter that night to defend himself, simply posting: “I am not a fascist and I would not have done it if I had known what it means. I know the consequences and I would never have done it.” Unfortuanetly the damage may be too severe for Katidis to save his footballing career. A star for Greece’s youth teams and a former Under 19 captain, Katidis must now face up to the realistic possibility that he will never play for his country again which will be devastating to the player. However he must live with his actions, and take the punishment given to him. Over time, the feelings and media frenzy will die down to a simmer and Katidis may eventually be able to resurrect his career once more.
To see the video and judge for yourself, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnqosj9UVo