Hinteregger retires aged just 29 amid criticism over tournament arranged with far-right politician

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Eintracht Frankfurt defender Martin Hinteregger has announced his retirement from football at the age of 29.

The Bundesliga side confirmed on Thursday that the Austria international expressed his desire to end his playing career.

Hinteregger had a year left on his contract with the German team but they have accepted his proposal to terminate his deal this summer.

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Has Hinteregger retired because of connections to the far-right?

Hinteregger's announcement was made just a month after he helped Frankfurt to success in the Europa League last season.

The centre-back stirred up some controversy recently when the town of his youth team, Sirnitz, hosted a competition organised by him and his former business partner Heinrich Sickl.

Sickl has connections to a far-right political party as a former member of an Austrian neo-Nazi organisation in the 1990s.

More recently, he rented premises to the controversial far-right Identitarian Movement Austria.

Hinteregger was criticised after the Hinti Cup and his connection to Sickl were revealed, but he took to Instagram to insist that he was not aware of his business partner's history.

"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," he said.

"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."

What has been said about Hinteregger's retirement?

The player explained his decision to the club's website and addressed the controversy surrounding the tournament.

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. 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.

"For now, I need to get some distance and readjust my life. I’m grateful that Eintracht have given me the opportunity to take this step now."

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