Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
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UEFA investigate Turkey hero Merih Demiral’s goal celebration in Euro 2024 win vs Austria | Football | Sport

UEFA have opened an investigation following alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’ from Merih Demiral during Turkey’s win over Austria on Tuesday night. Demiral scored both goals in a 2-1 win as Turkey booked their spot in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals.

The former Juventus centre-back is alleged to have performed a ‘Wolf’s Salute’, which is associated with a far-right political movement in Turkey called the Grey Wolves. “I had a specific celebration in mind, something connected to my Turkish identity,” said Demiral after the game.

“I am incredibly proud to be Turkish, and I felt that pride deeply after scoring. I wanted to express that, and I’m very happy I did. Our fans are proud of us. I saw them doing the gesture in the stands, and it made me want to do it even more. I am very happy.”

On Wednesday morning, UEFA announced that they have appointed an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector to investigate the celebration.

Their statement read: “In relation to the 2024 UEFA European Championship Round of 16 match between Austria and Turkiye played on 2 July 2024 in Leipzig, Germany, an investigation has been opened in accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations in relation to the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the Turkish Football Federation player, Merih Demiral. Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course.”

The ‘Wolf’s Salute’ is banned in France and Austria, and those who perform it can be fined over £3,000. Germany’s Constitutional Protection Agency, the European Union and the United Stated of America all consider supporters of the Grey Wolves to be extremists.

Demiral had only ever scored two goals for his country before Tuesday night’s unlikely brace. He therefore doubled his international tally in one evening, with dark horses Austria sent crashing out and Turkey setting up a quarter-final against Holland.

The 26-year-old previously enjoyed spells with the likes of Juventus and Atalanta before signing for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli last year. Demiral’s goal celebration is not the only one subject to an ongoing UEFA probe.

Jude Bellingham is also under investigation for an alleged crotch-grabbing gesture following his stoppage-time bicycle kick against Slovakia on Sunday. England went on to win the match in extra time, with Gareth Southgate’s side now preparing to face Switzerland in the last eight.

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