Euro 2024: UEFA Investigates Turkey's Star Merih Demiral Over Controversial Celebration

Euro 2024: UEFA Investigates Turkey's Star Merih Demiral Over Controversial Celebration Jul, 3 2024


UEFA has initiated an investigation into Turkey's Merih Demiral following his controversial goal celebrations during his team's Euro 2024 match against Austria. The defender netted twice in a 2-1 win, securing Turkey's progress to the quarter-finals. However, Demiral's actions post-goal have cast a shadow over the victory, drawing scrutiny from football's governing body for potentially making political gestures.

The Match and Key Performers

Turkey's advancement to the next stage of Euro 2024 came courtesy of two crucial goals by Merih Demiral. Displaying remarkable skill, Demiral struck early, scoring in the 57th second and again in the 59th minute, both times capitalizing on corners delivered by the budding talent, Arda Guler. These pivotal goals not only highlighted Demiral's prowess on the field but also catapulted Guler into the limelight as an assist provider of immense promise.

The match against Austria was fiercely contested, with both teams demonstrating a high level of competitiveness. Despite the early lead, Turkey had to fend off numerous attacks from an aggressive Austrian side. The intensity of the game was palpable, with every play and every move scrutinized under the watchful eyes of the fans and officials alike. However, the tension took a darker turn as the spotlight shifted from the pitch to Demiral’s celebratory actions.

Political Gesture Allegation

Merih Demiral's goal celebrations have sparked a significant controversy. UEFA officials are investigating claims that Demiral made a 'wolf's salute' with each hand after scoring his goals. This gesture is closely associated with Turkish nationalist sentiments and linked to the organization Ulku Ocaklari, also known as the Grey Wolves. The Grey Wolves are a far-right group that has garnered international attention for its political activities. Should the investigation confirm these allegations, Demiral could face sanctions, including a potential ban, which would be a major blow to Turkey's aspirations in the tournament, especially with their looming quarter-final clash against the Netherlands.

On-Field Controversies

On-Field Controversies

Beyond Demiral's actions, the match was marred by several other controversies. Notably, the game witnessed unsavoury crowd behaviour. During the critical moment leading to Demiral's second goal, a cascade of plastic beer cups rained down on Arda Guler as he set up the corner. The young star was momentarily distracted by the unusual disturbance, though he maintained composure and delivered the crucial assist.

In a separate incident, Austria’s Marcel Sabitzer found himself at the receiving end of similar crowd antics. As he prepared to execute a play, Sabitzer was struck by beer cups, one of which seemingly hit him on the head, causing him to fall to the ground. He lay clutching his head, demonstrating the impact and potential harm of such actions. These incidents have raised questions about crowd control and the responsibilities of tournament organizers in ensuring player safety.

Implications for Turkey

The ramifications of the investigation into Demiral's actions are potentially significant for the Turkish team. As they prepare to face the Netherlands in Berlin on Saturday, the uncertainty surrounding Demiral's involvement looms large. His absence, if a ban is imposed, would be a notable handicap for Turkey. Demiral has been a defensive stalwart and a key player contributing not just in defense but also in pivotal moments in attack, as evidenced by his performance against Austria.

The team management and fans are undoubtedly on edge, awaiting UEFA's decision. The unfolding drama off the pitch has certainly overshadowed the team's on-field accomplishments, and there is a palpable sense of tension and anticipation within the Turkish camp. Every player, coach, and supporter knows that Demiral's availability could be the difference between advancing further in the tournament or facing an early exit.

Fan Reactions

Unsurprisingly, the reaction from fans has been polarized. Turkish supporters, while lauding Demiral for his on-field heroics, have expressed mixed emotions regarding the allegations of his political gestures. For many, his actions post-goal are seen as expressions of national pride. However, others acknowledge the sensitive nature of political symbols in sports and the potential repercussions it brings.

On the other hand, fans worldwide have taken to social media platforms, voicing their opinions on the issue. Some have condemned the politicization of football, arguing that sports should remain a neutral ground free from external influences. Others highlight the importance of addressing any form of political gesture in sports to preserve the integrity of the game. The debate continues to rage, reflecting the complex emotions surrounding nationality, politics, and sportsmanship.

UEFA’s Stance on Political Gestures

UEFA’s Stance on Political Gestures

UEFA has maintained a firm stance on political gestures within football matches, consistently advocating for the game to be free of political connotations. The organization has enacted various regulations to ensure that football remains a unifying platform devoid of divisive elements. Previous instances where players have made political statements or gestures have been met with fines, bans, and other disciplinary actions.

The investigation into Demiral underscores UEFA’s commitment to this principle. By probing into the potential 'wolf's salute,' UEFA aims to reinforce its position against the introduction of political narratives in football. This investigation also serves as a reminder to players and teams about the governing body's expectations and the potential consequences of breaching these guidelines. As the hearing progresses, many are watching closely to see if UEFA will continue with their stern approach or if exceptions might be made considering the circumstances.


The unfolding saga of Merih Demiral’s goal celebration during Turkey's Euro 2024 match against Austria has turned a spotlight on the intersection of sports and politics. With UEFA's investigation ongoing, the stakes are high not just for Demiral but for the entire Turkish squad as they brace for their quarter-final fixture against the Netherlands. As fans and stakeholders alike await the outcome, this incident raises broader questions about the role and regulations of political expressions within the world of football. The story is far from over, with each new development promising to add more layers to an already complex narrative.

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