Former Netherlands striker Marco van Basten has been suspended by Fox Sports after he made a Nazi remark on-air. The Dutch edition of the sports channel said the “Sieg Heil” comment – a phrase associated with use at Nazi rallies – was “stupid and inappropriate”. In an apology Van Basten, 55, said he had “not intended to shock people”.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has been suspended for one week with his wages to be donated to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. The former Netherlands manager said he had attempted to “ridicule” the German language of pitchside colleague Hans Kraay, who had just interviewed Heracles’ German boss Frank Wormuth following a 4-1 defeat by Ajax on Saturday. After an initial on-air apology, the former AC Milan forward also added on Sunday: “Life is like football. Sometimes you score, sometimes you miss. But if you miss, that does not mean that you are a bad person.” The incident occurred on a weekend in which all players in the Netherlands’ top two divisions agreed not to play in the first minute of games in order to protest against racism, following the abuse suffered by Excelsior’s Ahmad Mendes Moreira. Fox Sports said Van Basten “did not want to hurt anyone deliberately, apologised and accepted the consequences” and confirmed he would return to the De Eretribune programme on Saturday, 7 December.