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Hungary summoned on Thursday a representative of the German embassy to denounce an “obstacle to freedom of expression” in reference to the dismissal of the coach of the goalkeepers of a Bundesliga club for statements considered homophobic and xenophobic.
“Germany, like Hungary, has lived directly throughout its history the terror against those who expressed their opinion, so preserving the fundamental rights to freedom of expression is our common moral duty,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
Several senior officials had protested against the dismissal of Zsolt Petry by Hertha Berlin, where he was in charge of the junior goalkeepers of the youth divisions under 17, after having coached those of the first division team (2015-2019).
Gergely Gulyas, head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office, called this decision “scandalous”, evoking Germany’s “totalitarian” past.
Zsolt Petry, 54, criticized the reception of migrants in Europe in an interview published Monday by the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet.
“Europe is a Christian continent, I do not like to witness the moral decline of the continent,” he had launched.
He also attacked fellow RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who spoke out in favor of gay marriage.
In response to the criticism, Petry released a clarification in which he assured that he was not “homophobic or xenophobic” and presented his “apologies”.
But the Berlin club decided to dispense with their services, believing that their public remarks went against the club’s values of diversity and tolerance.
© 2021 AFP