Belarus football club faces hefty fine over Hitler deputy banner

By : dpa

Minsk - The Dynamo Minsk football club is facing a hefty fine after fans of the Belarusian first-division team displayed a banner showing a deputy of Adolf Hitler during a match, media outlets reported Friday.

"It is a glaring case not only for Belarusian football, but for all of society," Vladimir Vitushko, the head of the Belarusian Football Federation's disciplinary commission, reportedly said.

Fans of the 1982 Soviet champion unfurled the banner with an image of Rudolf Hess and the phrase "Your life is for us an example of loyalty" during a 1-1 match against FK Vitebsk on Wednesday - two days after what would have been Hess' 106th birthday.

Vitushko said a fine amounting to the equivalent of 75,000 euros (99,600 dollars) - an astronomical sum for Belarusian standards - is now threatening the club. It has already apologized for the incident in an open letter to veterans and the whole country.

The scandal in the former Soviet republic, which comes shortly before ceremonies to mark the victory against Nazi Germany, is all the more surprising because the authoritarian leadership in Minsk closely monitors all areas of public life.

Belarus was the scene of bloody battles and brutal crimes during World War II.

Hess was sentenced to life in prison during the Nuremberg war- crime trials. He committed suicide in jail in 1987.


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