Dietmar Hopp impressed by show of solidarity

The vitriolic banners and verbal abuse directed at Dietmar Hopp by Borussia Dortmund supporters both before and during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund (1-1) last Sunday in the WIRSOL Rhein Neckar-Arena have not only provoked shock and anger, they've also brought forth a wave of solidarity with the TSG Hoffenheim majority shareholder. Many prominent institutions and individuals from the world of sport, politics and the economy have reacted to the open letter published by the TSG board of management last Sunday.

Since last weekend, both TSG Hoffenheim and Dietmar Hopp have been receiving hundreds of e-mails, calls and letters condemning the massive verbal and visual attacks made against the 78 year old. Many of those who got in touch also demanded that these events be thoroughly investigated and that appropriate legal action be taken. Amongst those who got in touch, there were a large number of BVB fans who described how they felt ashamed at what had happened, and how they wanted to distance themselves from the group of fans who were responsible for this abuse and who had managed to loudly make their presence felt in the stadium. 

Dietmar Hopp has also received enormous support from many prominent figures in the Bundesliga. ''Everyone in the league should come together and show solidarity. It's simply unacceptable to defame somebody who has achieved so much, and who has done absolutely nothing wrong in the process,'' said Freiburg coach Christian Streich. ''It's clear that the actions of certain Dortmund fans are completely inappropriate.'' Dietmar Hopp is ''someone who supports his region, who does so much.'' The Fortuna Düsseldorf coach Friedhelm Funkel expressed his outrage: ''It's really terrible to see the hostility directed towards Dietmar Hopp. He's someone who loves football, who played the game back in the day, who does so much work for good causes and who invests in the region in which he himself grew up. It's not like he's some investor from China. Every club wishes they could have a Dietmar Hopp.'' 

Support from the Bundesliga

Ralf Rangnick, who previously spent five years working in Hoffenheim, was equally shocked: ''I don't think I know anyone in German football - at least no-one I've personally encountered - who is more selfless in their actions than Dietmar,'' said the 60 year old coach and director of football at RB Leipzig. ''It upsets me on a personal level ... I don't think there's anybody out there who has put so much of the money they've earned towards the improvement of various different areas of society,'' stated Rangnick: ''I've scarcely met anyone with as much integrity as Dietmar.''

The management of German record title holders FC Bayern Munich also made their views known with an uncompromising statement published on their club homepage, signed by both club president Uli Hoeneß and board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In this statement, the club acknowledged the numerous achievements of Dietmar Hopp, praised his ''irreproachable character'', while also making an appeal to the entire football world: ''To show solidarity in resistance to this form of aggression. We have to stand together to stamp out transgressions of this nature.'' Alongside solidarity and mutual action, the Bayern bosses also called for ''the cultivation and upholding of decency and morals.''

Thanks from Dietmar Hopp

The Federal Association of German Foundations as well the Sepp Herberger DFB Foundation made it clear where they stand. The organisation published the following message on their Facebook page: ''No other team is more synonymous with the values of team spirit, fairness and togetherness than the 'Heroes of Bern.'' In the very region in which Herberger grew up, Dietmar Hopp is doing so much to improve society and set a good example for others. His efforts truly transcend football. For all he does, he deserves our respect, our solidarity and our appreciation.''

Dietmar Hopp felt obliged to thank all those, ''Who have expressed not only their shock and dismay, but above all their support, sympathy and encouragement, and in such a moving and powerful manner. The diverse reactions I've received have made it abundantly clear that the incomprehensible attacks made against my person and my family have shocked many more people than just myself. No-one wants to see a small group of criminals take control of a football match like that,'' said the TSG shareholder, who hopes to see a comprehensive explanation for the events of last Sunday. ''I can only hope that the heads of the association and the management of all clubs are able to bring an end to this reprehensible behaviour. Now is the time to do so!''

TSG reacts to DFB investigation

TSG Hoffenheim have offered an immediate response to a formal demand issued by the German Football Association (DFB), the aim of which is to find out exactly how it was possible that a banner displaying a sniper rifle cross-hair targeting Dietmar Hopp's face was able to make it past the security services and into the Dortmund fan area. This is of particular interest given that, as a result of the risk factor involved in the match, the club called on the services of a special observational security unit, while the DFB, at the request of TSG, also sent a security observer to the match at the WIRSOL Rhein Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim. This special security observer attests to having complied with all the steps outlined in the regulations, which included specific instructions related to material which can be brought into the stadium, such as banners. Despite these efforts, certain BVB supporters were able to illegally smuggle abusive banners into the area for away fans. The early findings of the investigation would suggest that individual parts of these banners were stitched into other fan club banners. Once these banners had been brought into the away section, they were then individually unravelled before being stitched together.

Download Now!
Print Page to top