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UEFA to investigate Turkish footballers’ military salute during Euro 2020 game

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Europe’s football governing body UEFA has said it will investigate a military salute given by Turkey footballers after Everton star Cenk Tosun scored a goal against Albania, BBC reported.

Turkey’s 1-0 win in Istanbul came on Friday amid Turkish army clashes with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Tosun posted the salute photo on Instagram with the message “For our nation, especially for the ones who are risking their lives for our nation.”

Turkey has launched a major offensive in areas controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Dozens of civilians and fighters have been killed on both sides.

The Turkish Football Federation also posted an image on Instagram of the Turkey players and trainers saluting in the dressing room along with the message: “At the end of the road lies the championship! After seven matches we continue our leadership in the Euro 2020 Qualifying Group H. We dedicate this win to all our hero soldiers.”

UEFA spokesman Philip Townsend told Italian news agency Ansa the Turkish salute “could seem like a provocation.”

“I can guarantee that we will examine this situation, let me check,” he said.

UEFA’s disciplinary rules prohibit “the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly provocative messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or offensive nature.”

The football world body FIFA fined three Switzerland players after they made Albanian nationalist gestures at a World Cup match against Serbia in June 2018.

The “double eagle” gesture is a sign of solidarity with Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in 1999.

Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, both of Kosovar origin, each received a warning and a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (about £8,000; $10,050). Swiss captain Stephan Lichtsteiner was fined 5,000 Swiss francs for joining in.

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