On August 7th the German tabloid Sport Bild published an article containing a bombshell for HSV. The publication claimed that it had evidence that the HSV player Bakery Jatta entered Germany with forged papers. His real name is Bakery Daffeh according to the paper, and he is two years older than he claimed when he entered Germany.
The reasons behind Jatta’s move were simple according to Sport Bild. As a 17-year-old lad, Jatta was given the chance to stay in Germany. Had he given up his allegedly real age of 19 and-a-half, he would have likely been sent back according to the paper.
Both HSV and the player himself have denied that the claims made by the publication are true. Jatta himself testified in front of the DFB to tell his side of the story and he collaborated fully with the authorities in Germany.
Protest after protest
Whilst Jatta has kept on playing, delivering the goods for HSV on the pitch, the media storm has subsided in the last two weeks. In addition to the nasty press, there has been another negative side affect to these allegations.
Both VfL Bochum and 1. FC Nürnberg lodged protests against the end result of their matches against HSV. Both clubs want to be awarded three points for their matches against HSV despite losing on the pitch.
For them, the end result can’t stand, as HSV supposedly were using a player without a valid playing licence. So far the DFL have stated that Jatta’s playing licence is valid as long as the information provided by the club and player is correct.
The clubs protesting the end result of the matches have to prove that HSV knowingly used a player who had forged his papers. Legally speaking this should be a rather tricky undertaking. 1. FC Nürnberg were given until August 15th to make their case, but the DFB have granted them an extra 16 days to collect their evidence.
Additionally former HSV sporting director Oliver Kreuzer, now holding the same post at HSV next opponent KSC, has already come out in the press stating that his club would also hand in a protest should his team lose a match in which Jatta featured.
Support from the team, fans and arch rivals
The case made by Sport Bild was thin at best, and both the club and player seem to be certain that things are going their way. In the wake of the press coverage both the fans and team captain Aaron Hunt came out in support of Bakery Jatta.
Se dette innlegget på Instagram
Die Geschichte von Bakery Jatta. Eine die mich, unsere gesamte HSV-Familie und eine ganze Stadt traurig stimmt. Eine rein auf Indizien basierende Story ist in Begriff zu einer Kampagne zu werden. Einer Kampagne, die eines Menschen nicht würdig ist. Pure Polemik und Schlagzeilen-Hascherei auf Kosten eines Einzelnen. Ist das wirklich richtig? Ist das Journalismus? Oder ist das vielmehr als ein fataler Trend? Hier wird ein Junge vorverurteilt, der eigentlich nie eine Chance hatte und sie trotzdem nutzte. Der geflüchtet ist und schließlich alles zurücklassen musste, um zu überleben. Der auf der Flucht war, um ein Stück von dem zu erleben, was für uns normal ist… Ihr sprecht von „Asylverfahren“ und „Täuschungsversuch“, von „Abschiebung“ und „Haftstrafen“ – und zeigt dann noch das Bild eines anderen farbigen Spielers?! Eines steht fest: Egal, was passiert, was geschrieben oder gesagt wird: Baka, … dein Verein, deine Stadt, deine (HSV-)Familie steht hinter dir. Egal, was komme: Denn die Familie hält zusammen…
Hunt wrote on Instagram:
“The story of Bakery Jatta. It is one that makes our entire HSV family and city sad. A story solely based on circumstantial evidence is turned into a campaign. A campaign, not worthy of the dignity of a human being. Pure polemic and headline chasing at the expense of a single human being. Is that really right? Is that journalism? Or, is it ever more an increasing trend? Here’s a kid, getting prejudical treatment, who really never had a chance, but still took it. One who had to flee and leave everything behind in order to survive. You are speaking of “asylum procedures” and “attempts of deception”, about “deportation” and “prison sentences” – and then you put up the picture of another HSV player of color?! One thing is clear: What ever happens, whatever is written or said: Baka, your club, your city, your (HSV-) family stands behind you. Whatever may come. Family sticks together…”
In his Instagram post Hunt was speaking about Sport Bild’s faux pas, which saw the paper using a picture of Gideon Jung instead of Bakery Jatta.
HSV fans unrolled a banner at the club’s cup match against Chemnitzer FC, stating:
“Bakery no matter what, we got your back”
Even cross city rivals FC St. Pauli backed HSV and the player. Head of sport Ewald Lienen told German broadcaster NDR:
“He is somebody who is integrated into society, he makes his money, pays his taxes and everybody is happy. Why do you need to dig into that and make a story out of that?”
Lienen added that there were much bigger problems worth talking about and that he didn’t have the time of day to give credence to such nonsense.
HSV get mad
HSV sporting director Jonas Boldt was clearly outraged when he discussed the issue at hand with the press. He said:
“We don’t see any reason to stand off from using Bakery despite these allegations. I repeat myself, but we talk about protest in the light of speculation and assumptions, that need to be proven by others. It’s absurd. Where is this going to end?”
Boldt went on saying that the current situation frustrates the entire league:
“With his statement in front of the supervisory board, he has done his part to come forth with the information needed. Given that, I don’t understand the extension of Nürnberg’s evidence gathering period. We want clarity as quickly as possible, especially in the light of the upcoming games. Bochum’s appeal and KSC’s considerations show, the lack of security in which the clubs are currently operating.”
The DFB has stated that it will rule on the matter by the middle of September. Before the final ruling there are still three matches to contend for HSV. KSC have already stated that they will hand in a protest if they should lose. However, both FC St. Pauli and Hannover 96 are unlikely to follow that same route according to Hamburg paper MoPo.
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