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Soccer player in trouble over Hitler garb

other Updated: Feb 26, 2008 21:06 IST

Reuters
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An Australian professional soccer player who attended a club celebration dressed as Adolf Hitler will be disciplined after Jewish groups complained, officials said on Tuesday.

German-born Andre Gumprecht, 33, attended a post-Grand Final ceremony Monday for his Central Coast Mariners team dressed in a khaki military uniform and mustache to resemble the former German dictator.

"Hitler was such a monster and for a lot of people, it's a very sensitive thing to be confronted with," Ernie Friedlander, a spokesman for the Jewish community group B'nai B'rith, told Australian newspapers.

Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley said he would be seeking an explanation from midfielder Gumprecht, who also runs a sporting academy for children.

"Such behavior is not only stupid, but is also not tolerated by the FFA," Buckley said in a statement.

Gumprecht was born in Jena, in the former East Germany, and played second division soccer there before joining Australian team Perth Glory in 2002.

A second player, Tony Vidmar, who dressed as God for the "Mad Monday" celebration in the beachside resort of Terrigal, north of Sydney, donning white robes and blackening his face, would also face a disciplinary hearing, Buckley said.

Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council spokesman Allon Lee said Gumprecht's costume after his team lost the A-League Grand Final 1-0 to the Newcastle Jets was "clearly in poor taste."

"Even if it was done in jest, he is a role model and he should consider the impact of his actions," Lee told local newspapers.