Fox suspends Marco van Basten one week for saying 'sieg heil' on air

Retired Netherlands football star Marco van Basten has been benched for a week by Fox Sports for saying "sieg heil" on air.

Van Basten, working as an analyst, was off camera on Saturday when he used the German phrase for "hail victory" that became notorious for its use at Nazi rallies.

Van Basten, who made the comment after a German coach had been interviewed by a reporter, apologised later in the show saying he had "not intended to shock people" and that "it was meant to ridicule the German language of pitchside reporter Hans Kraaij".

Fox Sports said in a statement on Monday that it distanced itself from the comment, which the broadcaster called "stupid and inappropriate" and said it will not use Van Basten as an analyst this week and will donate his fee to a Dutch institute to promote knowledge about World War II.

The comments came on a weekend in which teams across the Netherlands had agreed to take part in anti-racism protests after Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to racist abuse by Den Bosch supporters during last Sunday's Eerste Divisie -- Dutch second flight -- match.

Van Basten was a striker for Ajax and AC Milan and was one of the stars of the Netherlands team that won the European Championship in 1988.

After his playing career, he coached the Netherlands and other teams and was a senior official at FIFA.

Disney is the parent company of both Fox Sports Netherlands and ESPN.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.