UEFA bans Turkey superstar for derogatory celebration during Round of 16 encounter

UEFA has banned Turkey defender Merih Demiral after his inappropriate celebration during his side's round of 16 victory over Turkey on Tuesday

Saatvik Oberoi
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Merih Demiral, a defender for Turkey, received a two-match ban for giving an ultra-nationalist salute during the win of his team over Austria in the Euro 2024. Turkey defeated Austria 2-1 on Saturday to secure a quarterfinal berth against the Netherlands, with Demiral, 26, scoring both of their goals.

The defender for Al-Ahli celebrated his second goal with a "wolf salute," a motion connected to the far-right extremist group Grey Wolves, which is connected to the National Movement Party, the party that leads Turkey's coalition government.

Demiral claimed that the salute—which is prohibited in France and Austria—was prepared for the possibility that he scored during the round of sixteen. The European Football Association, or UEFA, brought charges against him for allegedly not abiding by general norms of conduct, breaking the fundamentals of decent behavior, utilizing sporting events for non-sporting activities, and defaming the game of football.

Jude Bellingham made a crotch-grabbing gesture to celebrate scoring in England's last-16 victory over Slovakia, but he is free to play in Saturday's quarterfinal matchup against Switzerland. The 21-year-old midfielder for Real Madrid has been penalized £25,400 (30,000 euros) and will miss one match due to suspension.

What did UEFA say about Demiral’s gesture?

In an official statement, UEFA said, “For failing to comply with the general principles of conduct, for violating the basic rules of decent conduct, for using sports events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature and for bringing the sport of football into disrepute.”

In response to Demiral's censure on X, Osman Askın Bak, Turkey's minister of youth and sports, said, "We condemn Uefa's unfair and biased decision, which we believe has no legal basis and is entirely political. We will continue to seek our rights through legal means against this double standard applied to our country and our national football player Merih Demiral. We believe in our football players. They will also give the necessary answer on the field."

UEFA Euro 2024 Turkey