Let’s untangle this madness, shall we? It won’t be easy, but it’ll be absolutely pivotal if this article is to make any sense at all. It’s a strange story, no matter what side you’re supposedly on, and one that will go to straight into the hungry history books. Let’s start, and try to keep up!
Sport BILD published an article, an investigative piece from Bild, they claim to have proof that Hamburg’s Gambian striker Bakery Jatta entered the country using forged papers, claiming that he was 17-years-old instead of 19 in order to be able to stay in the country, having fled the sub-Saharan calamity he is originally from.
This article presents little to no of this proof, and the proof that is being presented is thinner than the Greenland glaciers, but it somehow stuck. Jatta’s season proceeded and HSV didn’t really take notice until other clubs began protesting. Jatta denied the accusations, on multiple occasions and in front of DFB in court, which HSV backed unequivocally. This should have been the end of this, considering the thin string of evidence that Sport BILD decided to dish out to make up a story that would obviously go the merry-go-rounds of German football press.
However, it wasn’t. It should have been the end, but wasn’t and now HSV stand accused of having used a non-eligible player in their line-up in their wins against Bochum, Nürnberg and Karslruher SC. The accusations and appeals do not come from DFB, who seem to have forgotten the subject altogether, but rather from the losing clubs themselves, who all decided to submit appeals after losing to HSV. Karlsruher SC’s club director even stated before the game that an appeal would be handed in, would they lose a game wherein Jatta played.
These appeals rely on the proposed invalid nature of the games wherein Jatta has played, an appeal that has caught fire in all parts of football Germany. The controversy around this is something I will touch on in a minute, but let me just point out how hilariously dumb it is to come out before a game and say that an appeal will be handed in if they were to lose the game. This, if anything, makes the appeal in itself dependant on the club being a dramatically bad loser. Questioning the games’ validity if losing, but not if winning is dumber than… well, give me your best shot! I’m all ears.
While this is as hilarious as it’s tragic, the situation depicts a symptom of a difficult and growing issue in German football. For while Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund, 1. FC Köln and multiple other clubs try to connect and build bridges to their audiences, no matter the cost, these three clubs are doing the exact opposite.
Let me give an example. When Karlsruher SC put out a statement regarding their appeal they said that it was in the members’ best interest. The comment section on Twitter was filled with people practically renouncing their membership. How is that representing your members? How is that not just barefaced greed at its absolute worst? Nürnberg wasn’t better as they also stated that it was in the best interest of their members, but their members weren’t happy at all.
In fact, their comment section was filled by people renouncing their membership as well. This paints a worrying picture and shows us that some clubs seem desperate for three points and the financial gains it would present than actually representing the best interests of their fans, which would be to just accept the forfeit and be done with it. One thing should be made clear. Alienating your audience in a country where the fans have the majority of all shares is never a good idea if you’re planning on staying in charge at the club in question.
These three clubs have been given deadlines for gathering proof of their claims. Nürnberg’s deadline is this Saturday, but it does not look good. Jatta, HSV and the fans of many clubs in many different social layers of society seem rather self-confident with the end-result of this. There’s been suggestions that Sport Bild will have to pay a fee for slandering Jatta and HSV. A fee of some kind should be craved from the three clown-versions of German football ideals as well, as they’ve taken part in this without checking the thin shreds of evidence.
What does this mean for German football? Well, for starters it’s not really a problem just yet. It’s merely a handful of clubs showing signs of greed and inhumanity. However, it could grow and it could expand and if that’s the case… well, then the death of Bundesliga will not be in the chaotic flames of football madness, but in the ice-cold ignorance produced only by the power of human greed.
By Axel Falk.