Credit: Maarten from Netherlands, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Guus Hiddink

Former football manager,


The first headcoach who defied nazi symbolism in a football stadium (1992)

Who is he and what does he do?

Guus Hiddink is a Dutch former football manager and professional player. He enjoyed a long career playing as a midfielder in his native Netherlands, playing for sides such as PSV Eindhoven, De Graafschap and NEC Nijmegen, as well as some time spent playing in the United States.

After retiring from playing the game in 1982, Hiddink went into management, leading both clubs and countries from across the globe to achieve various titles and feats, before calling an end to his coaching career in 2021. His most famous stint came in PSV where he won a European Cup.

On the international level he has managed the Netherlands national team, South Korea national team, Russia, and Australia.

His personal experience with discrimination and exclusion

The Dutchman, Valencia’s manager back then, was central to the most impressive episode against discrimination in professional Spanish football when Hiddink himself forced the removal of all of the flags and signs with the Nazi swastika on them from his home stadium. His action was quite relevant because kick-off was delayed until all the xenophobic references had disappeared.

How he got rid of it

Hiddink’s courage materialised facing the fans carrying them and the club which had permitted the display. This occurred in 1992, on the 9th of February, before a Valencia v Albacete match.

The Dutchman approached the grandstands and personally supervised the removal of the anti-Semitic symbolism which ennobles the Jewish holocaust, one of the most atrocious chapters in the history of mankind. His reaction, in addition to being exemplary, was spontaneous. At that moment he did not suspect the media dimension this gesture would cause.

His inspiration for you

„Many people, in my past, told me to only focus on my team’s performance and not to worry about the problems affecting society. I have never followed these directives or advice, because I strongly believe that everyone has their own feelings but all of us must play our part to live in a world at peace.”


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