Legendary Greek footballer Vassilis Tsiartas has been given a 10-month suspended prison sentence over comments critical of child sex changes.
Tsiartas, who played a key role in the Greek national team’s shock victory in the UEFA European Football Championship in 2004 and finished his career without receiving a single red card, was prosecuted under a supposed anti-racism law which, somewhat perversely, includes provisions against public incitement to violence or hatred on the basis of gender identity.
In Tsiartas’s case, brought to the courts by the Transgender Support Association (SYD), the supposed incitement took the form of a Facebook post from 2017, in which the athlete remarked that he “hope[d] the first sex changes are carried out on the children of those who ratified this abomination” in reference to new legislation on gender identity, Greek media reports.
“Legitimise paedophiles too, to complete the crimes,” he added.
For this, Tsiartas was fined 5,000 euros (~£4,380/$4,980) and handed a 10-month suspended prison sentence.
The Transgender Support Association hailed the ruling against the footballer, calling it “particularly important for the transgender community.”
Tsiartas, for his part, has vowed to appeal the decision.