May 6, 2021

Hertha Berlin sack goalkeeping coach Petry for anti-gay and xenophobic comments

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The Hungarian was relieved of his duties just one day after an interview with a newspaper in his home country

Hertha Berlin have sacked goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry for anti-gay and anti-immigrant comments made in an interview on Monday.

Petry made a number of controversial statements regarding fellow Hungarian and RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi’s outspoken support for LGBT rights. 

The 54-year-old also criticised Europe’s immigration policy, calling it a “manifestation of moral decline.”

What did Petry say?

In an interview with Hungarian outlet Magyar Nemzet, Petry said of Gulacsi: “The majority of Hungarian society does not agree with Peter Gulacsi’s liberal opinion on rainbow families.

“As an athlete, I would focus on football in his place and not formulate any position on public, social policy issues. 

“I do not know what might have caused Peter to stand up for people with homosexual, transvestite, and other gender identities. I certainly would not have stirred up tempers if I were in his place.”

On immigration, Petry added: “I do not even understand how Europe can morally sink as deeply as it is now. Immigration policy for me is a manifestation of moral decline. 

“Europe is a Christian continent. I am reluctant to watch the moral degradation sweeping across the continent.

“If you don’t think immigration is good because Europe has been swarmed by a bunch of criminals, then they accuse you of being racist.”

What was Hertha’s response?

The Bundesliga side reacted swiftly, saying in a statement on Tuesday: “Following several remarks made by goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry in an interview that the club was initially unaware of with Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, and after intense internal discussions and consultations, the Hertha BSC board has decided to relieve Zsolt Petry of his duties with immediate effect.

“Hertha BSC signed the Diversity Charter for German companies and actively promote values such as diversity and tolerance, because these values are important to us.

“The remarks made by Zsolt Petry as a club employee in the public eye to not respect these values.”

What was Petry’s response to his sacking?

After he was sacked, Petry issued a statement of his own, saying: “I would like to stress that I am not homophobic or xenophobic. I deeply regret my comments about immigration politics and would like to apologise to all those seeking refuge here who I have insulted.

“I enjoyed working for Hertha BSC and respect their decision. I wish everyone at the club all the best for the future.”

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