Van Basten apologises for 'sieg heil' comment

Netherlands and Ajax great Marco van Basten has apologised after he used a term synonymous with the Nazi party live on television.

Marco van Basten has apologised for using a phrase synonymous with the Nazi party   -  Getty Images

Marco van Basten has apologised after he was heard saying "sieg heil", a phrase synonymous with a Nazi salute, live on Dutch television.

Former Netherlands, Ajax and AC Milan forward Van Basten was working as an analyst for Fox Sports on Ajax's Eredivisie clash with Heracles on Saturday.

Prior to the match, Fox presenter Hans Kraay interviewed Heracles coach Frank Wormuth in German.

However, Kraay's attempt at conducting the interview in German amused Van Basten, who said: "Sieg heil, not so beautiful, pancake."

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That sparked significant controversy, with "sieg heil" having been a phrase commonly used in Nazi Germany before and during World War II.

Van Basten has subsequently apologised, insisting he did not mean to cause offence.

"I didn't mean to shock people, I just wanted to ridicule Hans' German, but I'm sorry," the 55-year-old said.

Van Basten's comments follow on from Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira receiving racist abuse from Den Bosch supporters in a second-tier match last weekend.

The incident prompted Netherlands star Georginio Wijnaldum to vow to leave the pitch if he was racially abused, as well as calling on the Dutch government to act.

Protests were also held across the top two tiers in the Netherlands this weekend, with players standing still for the opening minute of each match.

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