UEFA investigating Turkey’s Demiral over goal celebration

Turkey's Merih Demiral

Turkey defender Merih Demiral is under investigation by Uefa after appearing to make an ultra-nationalist salute during his country’s victory against Austria.

Demiral, 26, scored twice as Turkey booked their place in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals to face Netherlands with a 2-1 win against Austria.

The Al-Ahli defender celebrated his second goal with a ‘wolf salute’, a gesture associated with the far-right extremist group Grey Wolves that are linked with Turkey’s ruling coalition party the National Movement Party.

Demiral said the salute, which is banned in Austria and France, was pre-planned in case he scored.

“I had a goal celebration in mind, which I did,” said Demiral.

“I am very proud because I am a Turk, therefore after the goal I felt it deeply and I wanted to do it, and I am very happy about doing it.”

Demiral posted a photo of the celebration on his X account with the caption: “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk!”

Uefa’s investigation has been opened in accordance with Article 31(4) in relation to the “alleged inappropriate behaviour” of Demiral.

If found guilty, Demiral could be fined or face a suspension as Turkey prepare to take on Netherlands in Saturday’s quarter-final at 8pm BST.

England midfielder Jude Bellingham is under investigation for a gesture he made during the last-16 win against Slovakia on Sunday.

Bellingham was seen making a crotch-grabbing gesture towards the Slovakian bench after scoring an overhead kick in stoppage time.