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Hertha Berlin sack goalkeeping coach over LGBTQ & migrant comments

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

15:57 6 Apr 2021

Zsolt Petry has been sacked by Hertha Berlin after making comments that did "not correspond to the values" of the Bundesliga club.

Hertha announced the departure of the goalkeeping coach with immediate effect on Tuesday after a close examination of comments that he made in an interview with Hungarian outlet Magyar Nemzet on Monday.

Petry was speaking about fellow Hungarian Peter Gulacsi, the RB Leipzig goalkeeper, who took to Facebook last December to express support for LGBTQ couples in the wake of a constitutional change that effectively banned them from adopting.

"I don't know what led Peter to stand up for people with homosexual, transvestite and other gender identities," said Petry in the interview. "If I were him, as an athlete, I would concentrate on football and not comment publicly on sociopolitical issues."

Petry was also asked by Magyar Nemzet if he sympathises with conservative politics, to which he replied; "Absolutely. I don't understand how Europe could sink so morally low; the immigration policy is an expression of moral downfall.

"Europe is a Christian continent. Let us continue to live by the national values we have learned over the years."

In their statement, Hertha say that the club is signed to the Diversity Charter in Germany and that they are "actively committed to values ​​such as diversity and tolerance".

The statement continues: "Even after acknowledging the subtleties of the translation and the fact that some of Zsolt's statements were left out in the interview without consulting them prior to publication, we ultimately had to establish that the statements made overall do not correspond to the values ​​of Hertha BSC."

Hertha CEO Carsten Schmidt commented: "Zsolt Petry's work has always been very much appreciated during his years at Hertha BSC. He was also always experienced as being open, tolerant and helpful. At no time did he act homophobically or xenophobically," said Schmidt.

Petry, who has been at the club since 2015, made a statement himself in response to the news, claiming regret over his comments on immigration.

"I want to emphasize that I am neither homophobic nor xenophobic," he said. I very much regret my statement on immigration policy and would like to apologise to all the people who seek refuge with us and whom I have offended.

"I really enjoyed working for Hertha BSC and I respect this decision. I wish everyone at Hertha BSC every success for the future. "

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