rapid vienna
The Rapid Vienna fan had already been convicted in 2013 for wishing a 'happy birthday' to Hitler Getty

A football fan in Austria has been jailed for 18 months for performing a Nazi salute during a match.

The skinhead supporter of top-flight SK Rapid Vienna's hardcore "ultra" wing was spotted doing the gesture during a match in August 2016 – flouting the country's tough laws against Nazi glorification.

He had denied making the gesture as a political statement and said it came after having "a few beers and spritzers" before the game.

"I didn't really give it much thought. But it clearly wasn't a good idea," the skinhead told the court, according to AFP.

But the 39-year-old, who has not been named, was convicted and sentenced in Vienna on Monday (21 August).

The supporter sported a tattoo bearing the number 88, a code meaning "Heil Hitler" due to the letter H being the eighth in the alphabet.

He had already been convicted in 2013 for wishing a "Happy Birthday" to Hitler on Facebook.

Adopted in 1947, Austrian laws banning any promotion of Nazism or Holocaust denial are some of the strictest in Europe.

There have been numerous similar conviction in the past but the sentences are usually suspended.