DFB sports tribunal gives its verdict on abuse against Hopp

The sports tribunal of the German Football Association (DFB) in Frankfurt has imposed a €50,000 fine on Borussia Dortmund for the incidents in the away fans section during the Bundesliga match against TSG Hoffenheim on 22 September 2018. In addition, the tribunal announced a suspended ban on away fans as well as other stipulations which will apply to all matches against TSG in the next three seasons.

The sports tribunal has imposed a suspended sentence on Borussia Dortmund which would mean that the club would not be able to bring away fans to Hoffenheim for the next three seasons. This suspended sentence runs until June 30 2022. Revocation of the suspension of the sentence would apply in the instance of relevant insults against Dietmar Hopp during BVB matches against TSG, regardless of whether or not these are played at home or away. If the suspension of the sentence were to be revoked, Borussia Dortmund would have to pay compensation to TSG for the financial loss incurred. 

In addition, the tribunal stipulates that BVB will have to work together with TSG to develop and implement security arrangements for all matches played between the two clubs. By the end of the 2021/2022 season, BVB will have to deploy at least 50 of their own qualified security personnel for all matches in Kraichgau. In addition, all forms of flags and banners are banned for all competitive fixtures against Hoffenheim until the end of the 2021/2022 season. This ban will be enforced by the security services.

Hans E.Lorenz, who as chairman of the DFB sports tribunal was responsible for leading the hearing, said that: ''The purpose of the decision reached is to ensure that there are no more repeat offences directed against the person of Dietmarr Hopp. The DFB and the DFL are responsible for ensuring that distinguished personalities in German football are protected against abuse of this nature.'' 

During the Bundesliga match on 22 September 2018, Dortmund fans directed large scale abuse towards Hoffenheim patron Dietmar Hopp. This was done through posters, banners and songs. In addition, the public toilets in the away fans section suffered significant damage. 

''It needs to be made made clear that today was in no way a dispute between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund, nor one between Dietmar Hopp and Hans-Joachim Watzke,'' said TSG's managing director Frank Briel after the hearing. ''The last few weeks have made it particularly clear that it must be our common duty to both present and enforce a firm stance against all forms of violence, both inside and outside of the stadium,'' said the 43 year old.

''After the massive verbal and visual abuse directed against the TSG majority shareholder Dietmar Hopp during the match between TSG and Borussia Dortmund on 22 September of this year, the sports tribunal of the DFB undertook a thorough investigation of the incident, reached a verdict and in today's sitting we heard the sanctions that the tribunal has agreed to impose within the means at its disposal. We respect the decision reached by the DFB sports tribunal, and we would like to take this opportunity to refer back to our open letter published immediately after the match in which we made it abundantly clear that TSG 1899 Hoffenheim stands for tolerance, respect and fairness,'' said Briel.

According to the TSG managing director, the question remains: ''as to whether or not the sanctions imposed will be interpreted by those they are directed against as a clear sign that any similar instances of visual and verbal insult must not be repeated. We welcome the clear stance taken by the judge, who spoke out in favour of calling off matches should similar or other such extreme incidents occur.''

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