Giorgos Katidis was suspended for the remainder of the 2012-13 Greek Super League season by his club AEK Athens on Tuesday after celebrating a goal with a Nazi salute on the weekend.
The 20 year old made the gesture after netting the winning goal in the vital 2-1 victory over Veria on March 16.
The youngster’s celebration was met with worldwide outrage and the Greek soccer federation wasted no time in handing him a lifetime ban from the national team.
His club followed suit on Tuesday and banned Katidis for the remainder of the campaign. A statement from AEK Athens read:
“The board has decided to suspend Katidis until the end of the 2012-13 season, taking into consideration the horrific image his behavior provoked and has imposed the highest possible fine according to internal regulations. Whether he continues or not at the club will be decided in the summer after giving him the chance to prove his behavior was the result of immaturity and after assessing whether his re-introduction into the side will be possible without creating shockwaves to AEK.”
Katidis was adamant after the encounter that he did not know what the gesture truly meant and later apologized for his actions.
However, his gesture is not being taken lightly in Greece and it’s hard to see how he can continue with AEK Athens, a club that pride itself on its democratic beliefs.
It remains to be seen if another club in Greece will risk signing the talented youngster if he indeed is offloaded by AEK or if Katidis will be forced to leave the country in order to continue his soccer career.
Giorgos Katidis’ suspension will likely hurt AEK Athens in their quest to avoid regulation this season but it’s a decision that had to be made in the wake of all the condemnation from around the globe.