Marco van Basten, the former Ajax and A.C. Milan player and three-time winner of the prestigious Ballon D’Or award, was recently removed as a selectable FIFA Icons character in FIFA 20 due to a joke made which referenced the traditional Nazi salute, ‘sieg heil’.
Late last month, during an interview between Dutch Fox Sports presenter Hans Kraay and Heracles Almelo manager Frank Wormuth following a match between the team and AFC Ajax, van Basten, unaware that his microphone was recording, mocked Kraay’s poor grasp of the German language by saying “Not too pretty, sieg heil, pfannkuchen [pancake].”, according to TalkSport.
Van Basten later apologized on air, stating that “I didn’t mean to shock people, I just wanted to ridicule Hans’ German, but I’m sorry.”
He added that “Life is like football. Sometimes you score, sometimes you miss. But if you miss, that does not mean that you are a bad person.”
In response to his comments, Fox Sports suspended Van Basten from his pundit position until December 7th, 2019, commenting that Van Basten’s comments were “stupid and appropriate” and that Van Basten “did not want to hurt anyone deliberately, apologised and accepted the consequences.” The channel also noted that Van Basten’s wages for the week would be donated to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation.
However, FIFA 20 players who loaded up their game on December 3rd were met with a message from the FIFA Team informing players that Van Basten’s ICON items would be unavailable “until further notice” due to the players “recent comments.”
We are aware of the recent comments made by Marco van Basten. We have an expectation that our commitment to equality and diversity is upheld across out game. As such, we will suspend Marco van Basten ICON items from being available in Packs, SBCs, and FUT Draft until further notice.
Stay tuned for further updates,
The FIFA Team”
As of writing, EA has not provided any specific timeline or date for Van Basten’s return to FIFA 20 or any indication that the player is to return at all.