Euro 2024 star faces suspension for making banned gesture while celebrating win

Merih Demiral faces punishment from UEFA over his celebration in Turkey’s win over Austria (AFP via Getty)

Turkey defender Merih Demiral faces a potential ban from UEFA over his gesture during the 2-1 win against Austria at Euro 2024 on Tuesday evening.

Demiral scored twice to secure Turkey’s victory over Austria in the last 16, which sets up a quarter-final tie against the Netherlands on Saturday.

However, the 26-year-old faces a sanction from UEFA after he made a wolf salute during the celebrations for his second goal.

The gesture is associated with the Grey Wolves, a far-right extremist group closely linked to Turkey’s ruling party the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The Grey Wolves salute is banned in Austria and is punishable by a fine of up to €4,000 (£3,390).

A statement from UEFA on Wednesday read: ‘In relation to the 2024 European Championship Round of 16 match between Austria and Türkiye 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.’

Merih Demiral made a ‘wolf salute’ during the celebrations for his second goal against Austria (Shutterstock)

Speaking after Turkey’s win, Demiral revealed he had planned to make the gesture for the game.

‘I had a goal celebration in mind, which I did. I am very proud because I am a Turk, therefore after the goal I felt it deeply, and I wanted to do it, and I am very happy about doing it,’ he said.

Demiral subsequently published an image on X of him celebrating with the gesture and wrote, ‘ne mutlu Turkum diyene,’ which translates to, ‘How happy is the one who says I am a Turk’.

More to follow…

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