Russian karter loses racing licence over alleged Nazi salute

The Italian Automobile Club has revoked the racing licence of Russian karter Artem Severiukhin following the controversy over his alleged Nazi salute on the podium of a European championship event.

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Severiukhin, 15, was accused of showing a Nazi salute after winning a round of the FIA Karting European Championship at Portimao in Portugal over the weekend.

Motorsport's ruling body, the FIA, announced on Monday it would launch an investigation into the incident.

Severiukhin's team Ward Racing also announced the termination of his contract after the video of the incident emerged online.

The Italian Automobile Club (ACI) also called for an extraordinary meeting to discuss Severiukhin's behaviour, as he competes under Italian licence as a result of the ban on Russian athletes.

On Tuesday, the ACI announced its decision to revoke Severiukhin's licence, labelling his gesture as "unspeakable and unacceptable".

It also said further sanctions are not ruled out.

"During the extraordinary meeting of the Sports Council of the Automobile Club of Italy - convened to take urgent measures following the unspeakable and unacceptable gesture of the Russian kart driver Artem Severiukhin, on the podium of the European junior kart race in Portimao - is still in progress, we learn that the Board itself has decided the immediate withdrawal of Severiukhin's sports license and has, at the same time, referred him to the Sports Justice so that it can evaluate the definition of further sanctions that fall within its own sphere of competence," the Italian body said in a statement.

"Severiukhin has shown a lack of respect not only for the universal values that have always inspired every sport, but also for humanity, dignity and civil coexistence."

The statement added: "Severiukhin had obtained the Italian license, as foreseen by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) regulations, which allow young drivers of any nationality the widest freedom of movement among International Federations, in order to allow them to grow professionally in those countries - such as Italy - which have a great tradition in motorsport training and in starting drivers to become professionals.

"Our country, in particular, has always been the most important in the world as far as karting is concerned, as demonstrated by the fact that in 2021 alone, 355 foreign drivers of the most varied nationalities obtained an Italian sports license for this discipline."


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