Should Uefa punish salutes?

Uefa is considering sanctions against the Turkish national team after players made a military salute at the Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Albania and France in a show of support for the Turkish army's offensive in northern Syria. While some commentators call for tough reprisals others advise a more lenient approach.

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Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Football should continue to unite people

Uefa must live up to its social role, Jyllands-Posten demands:

“It's good that Uefa has become active and threatened to impose punishments and sanctions. That could also include games in closed stadiums or being excluded from tournaments. Because if it is to continue to unite people as a mass sport, football must also come down hard at the first sign of racism, homophobia or political abuse.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Athletes entitled to have repulsive opinions too

We should take a more relaxed stance on the whole issue, Der Tagesspiegel puts in:

“Athletes aren't better politicians. But they are people with political convictions - and they are entitled to express them. True, they must respect the limits of public discourse and obey the law. Not all that can be said is allowed to be said. But the creation of politics-free zones established and supervised by associations that aren't at all free of politics themselves will deprive athletes of their right of decision. The Turkish player's military salute was revolting. But banning such gestures demonstrates a lack of understanding of what it is to show respect. Sacrificing freedom in the name of social peace is hardly ever a good idea.”

Denník N (SK) /

Players have succumb to blind nationalism

What drives Turkish footballers to make such public demonstrations of their support for their soldiers, Dennik N asks:

“At least some of them seem to want to do this of their own free will. Here run-of-the-mill nationalism no doubt plays a key role. In Turkey this sentiment has always been strong. ... Interestingly, many Turkish players have retained such blind nationalism even after years of playing in Western clubs and living in Western countries. Remember the German football stars of Turkish origin who ran so afoul of people in their home turf by paying tribute to the dictator and helping him in his election campaign.”