Hinteregger retires at 29 after outrage over links to Austrian Neo-Nazi figure

  /  autty

Martin Hinteregger has announced his retirement from football at the age of 29, just two weeks after links to Neo-Nazi figure emerged.

His resignation comes after fierce backlash as a result of reported connections with far-right political figure Heinrick Sickl, according to standpunkt.

The centre-back had a year left on his contract with Eintracht Frankfurt, who described the decision as 'unexpected' and 'painful'. Hinteregger has since distanced himself from Sickl.

He said: 'In the past few weeks, a number of issues have arisen around my 'Hinti Cup', which I have run with passion and the best intentions, the implications of which have only become clear to me in retrospect.

'Some emotional and perhaps ill-advised words from me have caused irritation and I would like to apologise for that. I regret that very much.

'To make it clear once again: I condemn right-wing, intolerant and inhuman ideas in the strongest possible terms. Those who know me know that.'

The Hinti Cup is a youth tournament set up by the former Austria international and his former business partner Sickl, and took place earlier in June before the revelation that Sickl was a former member of the Austrian Neo-Nazi movement in the 1990s.

Sickl has also rented property to the controversial Identitarian Movement Austria, which opposes mulitculturalism and advocates ethnopluralism.

Hinteregger also took to Instagram to insist he was unaware of Sickl's past, saying: 'I have no knowledge of past or future activities on the part of the Sickl family — I just want a soccer tournament to take place and nothing more.

'Any business relationship with the Sickl family will be terminated with immediate effect due to the current state of knowledge, and the event "Hinti Cup" will be examined alternatively to clarify a further course of action.'

Hinteregger was part of the Eintracht Frankfurt side that won the Europa League this season and played 36 times for the Bundesliga outfit this season, scoring once.

However, Hinteregger revealed that he had considered retirement earlier in the season, after a poor start to 2021/22.

He said: 'Last autumn, I'd already started to think about retiring at the end of the season. I was in a difficult period on the pitch: my performances were shaky.

'The wins didn't feel as good anymore, and every defeat hurt twice as much. My improvement in the spring and our joint successes in the Europa League made me even more motivated to bow out with a great sporting success.

'That’s why I enjoyed the Europa League victory so much, because I already knew it would be my last big victory celebration with the fantastic fans in this city, which has become my second home.

'I will think back on my time with Eintracht with only great gratitude and joy, continue to feel closely connected to the club and their fans, and support the team as a fan on their continued journey in Europe.

'I thank my teammates, the coaching staff, the backroom staff, all the employees and the sporting management for the faith, the support and the wonderful time I’ve experienced here.

'Above all I thank the fans, who have always been behind me, including and especially in difficult times.'

Related: Eintracht Frankfurt Hinteregger
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