Target: Giorgos Sarris, President of the Hellenic Football Federation
Goal: Applaud Hellenic Football Federation for punishing a Greek soccer player who gave the Nazi salute.
Giorgos Katidis, midfield for the AEK Athens soccer team, received a lifetime ban for giving a Nazi salute after he scored the winning goal. He claimed that he was ignorant of the meaning of the salute. In pictures, his Brazilian born teammate is seen giving him a shocked look. The country’s soccer federation took immediate action and banned him for life. Sign the petition to applaud the Greek soccer federation for their decisive action to show that racism is unacceptable.
On Twitter, Katidis attempted to defend himself by saying he “detests fascism.” His action is particularly relevant in Greece since the far-right xenophobic Golden Dawn Party has gained popularity. In some areas, support is as high as 20% and in Athens the party received almost 7% of the vote. Its flag bears similarity to the Nazi swastika and Golden Dawn members are known for giving the Nazi salute.
Katidis’ action cannot be ascribed to an innocent mistake. His German coach defended him saying that he was a young man who had no knowledge of politics. In one of the pictures the coach can be seen attempting to pull down Katidis’ arm while he is giving the salute while another man is seen looking back and smiling. There clearly was purposeful intent and knowledge by Katidis in giving the salute.
The economic crisis has emboldened the far-right across Europe and led to Neo-Nazi’s attempting to infiltrate soccer clubs as a way to spread their message. The Greek soccer federation made a unanimous ruling on giving a lifetime ban to Katidis, they issued a statement stating his action was “a profound insult to all victims of Nazi atrocities.” Sign the petition to applaud their laudable punishment.
Dear President Sarris,
I am a human rights activist writing to applaud your decision to give Giorgos Katidis a lifetime ban for giving the Nazi salute. This is a difficult time in Greece, in the difficult economic circumstance radical right-wing groups like Golden Dawn are attempting to take advantage of people’s fears and hate. It is important to send a message to them and other xenophobes, racists and Neo-Nazis that their ideology of hate is unacceptable in civil society.
While some may think that the punishment is too harsh, it is the right thing to do. Katidis clearly knew that he was giving a Nazi salute and he knew its meaning. His coach can be seen attempting to force his arm down while another man laughs. His Brazilian-born teammate is shown reacting with shock. People like Katidis should not be allowed to discourage foreign born soccer players because of their hateful actions.
Thank you for prompt resolution of this incident.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: via Huffington Post