Hertha Berlin sack goalkeeping coach over homophobic, immigration comments

Berlin (AFP) – Bundesliga football club Hertha Berlin have sacked goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry over controversial statements he made about homosexuality and immigration to a Hungarian newspaper, it was announced Tuesday.

The Budapest-born 54-year-old, who joined Hertha in 2015, was released “with immediate effect” over an interview he gave to Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

Petry criticised Peter Gulacsi, the Hungarian goalkeeper of Hertha’s Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig, for supporting marriage rights for same-sex couples in Hungary.

In February, Gulacsi criticised a law introduced by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government that only married couples can adopt children.

The law practically excludes LGBT Hungarians as gay marriage is not permitted in the country.

Petry also made controversial comments about immigration in Europe. “For me, it is an expression of moral decline,” he said.

“(The club) actively promotes values such as diversity and tolerance. This is not reflected in the statements made publicly by Zsolt Petry as our employee,” said Hertha in a statement.

In the same press release, Petry insisted he is “neither homophobic nor xenophobic” and particularly regretted his comments on immigration policy in Europe.

“I would like to apologise to all the people who are seeking refuge… and whom I have offended,” he added.

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