The under-16s from the Hertha Berlin club did not finish their match against VfB Auerbach 1906 on Saturday 14 December. Denouncing " racist insults " pronounced by their opponents, the young Berliners preferred to leave the field. They hope to raise awareness to " overcome this problem " in football.
It had to be just a simple match between juniors. This Saturday, December 14, the under-16s of Hertha Berlin faced their counterparts from VbB Auerbach 1906 outside, as part of the 15th day of their regional championship. This meeting is not over. After 68 minutes of play, and while leading 2-0, the Hertha players left the field.
Wir haben ein Spiel in der B-Jugend Regionalliga in Auerbach wegen mehrfacher rassistischer Beleidigungen gegen unsere Spieler abgebrochen. Es gibt Momente, in denen für uns Fußball zweitrangig ist. Rassismus darf keinen Platz in unserer Gesellschaft haben. # Notoracism #hahohe pic.twitter.com/oNF7cM1bRVHertha BSC (@HerthaBSC) December 14, 2019
Several players would have been insulted by their opponents
The Berlin club later communicated the reasons for the abandonment. " Our U16s were forced to abandon their match at Auerbach due to multiple racist attacks targeting our players, " said Hertha Berlin on social networks. In a press release, the club of the capital delivers details: “ Several players of our team were victims of racist insults on the part of their adversaries. "
Thus, at the 68th minute of play, and after informing the referee, the Berliners left the field. Paul Keuter, member of the executive board of Hertha Berlin, delivers a clear message: “ There are situations in which football becomes secondary for us. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to our players and also to society. We take this responsibility very seriously, and that is why not continuing this match was the only good decision. "
" Values and a clear attitude are more important than a victory or a defeat "
The Berlin leader hopes that this decision will constitute " a wake-up call so that all of us - players, clubs, associations and fans - can finally overcome this problem ". " In such a situation, values and a clear attitude are more important to us than a victory or a defeat on the field, " adds Paul Keuter.
Sofian Chahed, former player of Hertha Berlin and the Tunisian national team, now U16 coach of the Berlin club, reacted on social networks by posting a photo of his young players with the message: " He must not there is room for racism, on and off the pitch. "
Es darf keinerlei Spielraum für Rassismus auf und neben dem Platz geben! #NoToRacism https://t.co/fVBETcbENo pic.twitter.com/TjspB0K3PlSofian Chahed (@sofianchahed) December 14, 2019
VfB Auerbach 1906 reacted in a press release. The club refutes the accusations of racism and ensures that neither the referee nor his assistants noted such insults. Auerbach said his own players were insulted by their opponents during this " hot match " but that an internal investigation will be carried out. " If the allegations prove to be justified, the association will take the appropriate decisions, " promises VfB Auerbach 1906, while calling Hertha Berlin questioned its own players too. The Saxon formation wishes, finally, that no hasty judgment be made.
In 2017, the Hertha put a knee on the ground against racism
This abandoned match is not a first. In October, an English Cup match between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town had already been stopped at the call of Haringey Borough's coach. But he denounced racist insults, projectile throwing and spitting from opposing fans.
This is not the first time that Hertha Berlin has taken a stand against racism. In October 2017, the players of the first team paid tribute to the American sportsmen - playing for the vast majority in the NFL, as well as in the NBA - by performing the same symbolic gesture as them. They had put a knee on the ground, according to the posture popularized by the American footballer and activist Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest against police violence against African-Americans, then against certain positions of President Donald Trump.
Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore! #TakeAKnee #hahohe pic.twitter.com/spZvRSGVxQHertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) October 14, 2017
By thus kneeling on the ground, the Hertha players sent a strong signal to Germany, which was then going through a small political and societal earthquake with the entry into parliament of the far-right party AfD after the legislative elections, which doesn’t had no longer arrived in the country since World War II. Two years later, the Berlin club has not changed in terms of its values.