The 75th minute of Sunday’s match between HSV and Hannover 96 was an emotional moment for both Bakery Jatta, HSV and the club’s fans. When the Gambian winger slotted home die Rothosen’s third goal of the match the entire stadium erupted, celebrating Jatta and his stoic performances over the last few weeks.
Controversy has followed ever since SportBild published an article on August 7th, claiming it had evidence that the HSV player Bakery Jatta entered Germany with forged papers. His real name was supposedly Bakery Daffeh according to the paper, and he is two years older than he claimed when he entered Germany.
HSV resist outside pressure
Despite the considerable media pressure that mounted over the last few weeks, HSV coach Dieter Hecking decided to keep playing Jatta. Furthermore, the club stated all along that the player had papers that could prove that SportBild’s story was in fact untrue.
The team, the fans and the officials at the club all decided to pull closer together. Whenever Jatta was booed or bombarded with bad press, the HSV fans showed him that they had his back.
Both the player and the team went from strength to strength during this demanding period. HSV are now top of the Bundesliga 2, having won their last four matches on the bounce.
Today the club’s and player’s resolve was rewarded when news came in that the district exchange Hamburg-Mitte (the authority looking into SportBild’s accusation) decided to close its investigation into the matter. In a press release the district exchange wrote:
“The doubts regarding the correctness of the information provided weren’t confirmed during the hearing.”
Meaning, there is little doubt that Jatta, as a matter of fact, actually is Jatta and not Bakery Daffeh. At least as far as the German authorities are concerned.
SportBild’s shoddy journalism
Despite today’s revelation it looks like SportBild and Bild are sticking to their story. The only evidence the papers have brought forward so far is the fact that they seemingly can’t track down Bakery Daffeh.
As far as the evidence and the allegations leveled against Bakery Jatta go, it seems as though SportBild had a low bar for publishing a sensational story. The paper didn’t seemingly mind the consequences this story could have for the player and his club.
Given the way the case now has been handled by the authorities, both Bild and SportBild should apologize. SportBild had researched a rumor and in the end the paper decided to publish an article without any real evidence to back up the claims made by the paper. It should be a given that the paper should admit its mistakes, but so far neither Jatta nor HSV have received a much overdue apology.
Clubs withdraw protests
After the story broke 1. FC Nürnberg, VfL Bochum and Karlsruher SC all decided to hand in a protest after losing their matches against HSV. The clubs asked the DFB to annul HSV’s victories, because the club had decided to play a player who had forged papers.
The protests were always unlikely to succeed. Given that all three clubs needed to prove that Jatta had forged his papers and that HSV, in fact, knew that the player had lied about his identity.
1. FC Nürnberg went the furthest, hiring a profiler and asking a witness to testify on the club’s behalf. After today’s revelations all three clubs decided to withdraw their protests.
Finally both Jatta and HSV can return to simply focusing on the football.
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