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Fox Sports suspend Van Basten for on-air Nazi remark

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By Reuters
Fox Sports suspend Van Basten for on-air Nazi remark
FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - FIFA Awards Ceremony - Zurich, Switzerland - 09/01/17. Former Dutch player Marco van Basten arrives at the ceremony. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten has been suspended from his role as a television analyst for one week after using a term associated with Nazi rallies.

The 55-year-old said “Sieg Heil”, which in German means “hail victory”, on the Dutch edition of Fox Sports after a German coach was interviewed by one of the channel’s reporters for the De Eretribune show on Sunday.

Van Basten apologised later in the programme while Fox said in a statement on Monday that the comment was “stupid and inappropriate” and that it had suspended the three-times Ballon d’Or winner until Dec. 7.

The channel added that Van Basten’s wages for the week would be donated to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation.

Van Basten’s comment came on the same weekend players across the top two leagues of Dutch football stood still for the first minute of games to protest against racism.

The country’s Eredivisie and second-tier First Division also displayed the message “Racism? Then we won’t play” on all screens and boards in stadiums after Excelsior forward Ahmad Mendes Moreira was abused by fans on Nov. 17.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)