UEFA announces Merih Demiral’s suspension from Euro 2024 due to his celebration!

He decided European Football Association UEFA suspended Merih Demiral, the defender of the Turkish national team, on Friday, after his controversial celebration in the match against Austria in the round of 16 of Euro 2024, 24 hours before the Turks’ match in the quarter-finals of the tournament held in Germany.

Demiral scored both goals for the win. For the Turkish team On Thursday, he celebrated his second goal with a nationalist hand gesture in reference to the Grey Wolves, a far-right group in Turkey.

Why did UEFA suspend Merih Demiral for two matches?

UEFA said in a statement that Merih Demiral was suspended for “violating the basic rules of decent behaviour, using sporting events for unsporting purposes, and bringing football into disrepute.”

Under the penalty, the defender faces missing the semi-final against England or Switzerland, should his country qualify at the expense of the Netherlands in the quarter-finals in Berlin.

Türkiye responds to Merih Demiral’s suspension

Turkish Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak responded to the decision to suspend Merih Demiral, through a tweet on his official account on the social media platform:X“We condemn the unfair and biased decision of UEFA, which has no legal basis and which we consider to be purely political.”

He added: “We will continue to defend our rights through legal means against these double standards applied to our country and our player.”

Reports claimed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin amid an escalating diplomatic row with Germany.

Turkey summoned the German ambassador on Wednesday, after politicians reacted to Demiral’s celebration, prompting Germany to summon the Turkish ambassador.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser responded to Demiral’s gesture in a tweet two days ago, saying: “The symbol of Turkish right-wing extremists has no place in our stadiums,” adding: “Using European football as a platform for racism is absolutely unacceptable. We expect UEFA to investigate the case and consider sanctions.”

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry criticised what it described as “the politically motivated and racist reactions of the German authorities towards Demiral”.

Al-Ahli defender Demiral said he saw Turkish fans in the stands making the gesture, explaining: “I just wanted to show how happy and proud I am,” adding that he hopes there will be “more opportunities to show this gesture.”

After the match, the player confirmed that there was no hidden message behind his gesture, saying: “The way I celebrated has to do with my Turkish identity. We are all Turks, and I am very proud to be from Turkey, and this is the meaning of this gesture.”

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