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February 3, 2023 2:08 pm

‘My Son Will Hate The Jews For Rest Of His Life’: German Soccer Club Chairman Under Fire for Antisemitic Comments

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Players from Berlin soccer team TuS Makkabi huddle in the center of the pitch prior to a league game. Photo: Facebook

The chairman of a German soccer club was under fire on Friday over antisemitic comments he made in a television documentary about Jew-hatred in the sport.

Ergün Çakir — the chairman of CFC Hertha 06, a Berlin club that competes in the German capital’s minor leagues — made the remarks in a recent documentary on soccer and antisemitism produced by national broadcaster ARD.

Cakir originally made the headlines last November, when his son was one of two Hertha 06 players who assailed their visiting opponents from the German-Jewish club TuS Makkabi Berlin with antisemitic invective after losing a match 7-4.

In extraordinary scenes that were documented in a special report by the referee, Ender Apaydin, the Makkabi players were threatened with “cremation” — a reference to the Nazi gas chambers — while Apaydin himself was told that he had been “bought by the Jews.”

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The trouble began when the Makkabi players, who are drawn from many nationalities and ethnicities in the league’s 17-19 age group, attempted take a team photo while standing on the Hertha 06 pitch in front of an Israeli flag. Cakir’s son is alleged to have approached the group, screaming, “I’ll f*** your country and your flag, you sons of b*****. Take down the flag or I’ll cremate you and your dirty flag, you b******, like the Germans did to you.”

Reflecting on the incident in the ARD documentary, Cakir asserted: “My son will hate the Jews for the rest of his life – I know that 100 percent.”

He then complained that no-one had engaged in a dialogue with his son. “They said from the start, ‘we are Jews, we have the right, we can do anything we want.'”

On Thursday, Cakir finally offered an apology for his comments as well as the incident. “I got that wrong,” he told the Berliner Morgenpost, referring to his statements in the documentary.

“I apologize for what happened,” he added. “I apologize for my club, my players, as the father of the boy who did something like that.”

However, Cakir’s contrition was greeted with skepticism by Makkabi. “An apology is always welcome when you’ve done something wrong – but it has to be sincere, and we have doubts about that,” Ilja Gop, a member of the Makkabi board, told sports news outlet Sportschau. “We’ll see if it’s meant to be honest in the long term, or if he just wants his club not to be punished so harshly.”

Separately, the deputy mayor of Berlin’s Charlottenburg district demanded Cakir’s resignation, threatening that his continued presence in the post could jeopardize the club’s financing.

“If this incident has no consequences for the club, I will already have measures checked that go as far as withdrawing the training areas and public sports funding,” Heike Schmitt-Schmelz told Sportschau.


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