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German football club Lokomotive Leipzig has fired two coaches and filed a criminal complaint against one of them after a youth team posed for a photograph giving the National Socialist salute.

(Daily Sabah)

The fourth-tier club said it was "in shock" in learning of the team photo taken last weekend.

A criminal complaint has been filed against an assistant coach, who had called on the Under-17 team players to pose with their right arms outstretched. The gesture is known in Germany as the Hitler salute and is punishable under German law.

The coach has also been banned from the club for life and the players involved have been suspended for the rest of the season, a statement on the club website said late Friday.

"This is a slap in the face of every athlete, club member and person with common sense," the club said.

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"Giving this salute is not just a crime of incitement to hatred, it stands for the murders of millions of people in a system of injustice. It is therefore neither a trivial offense nor a provocation nor even 'fun'."

The club said it was planning a number of educational workshops for the players and their parents.

Lokomotive Leipzig is a club with a long tradition, winning three German championships early last century and finishing runners-up three times in former East Germany's top league. They reached the 1987 final of the European Cup Winners' Cup, losing to Ajax.

A chequered history following German unification has included a spell under the name VfB Leipzig, bankruptcy and a restart as Lokomotive in the lower amateur leagues. They are currently sixth in the Regionalliga Nordost.

 

 

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