The awful and completely misplaced acts of hostility toward Dietmar Hopp in German soccer stadiums reached a shocking climax last weekend. On behalf of all FC Bayern, we condemn the shameless songs and banners against this man of honor in the strongest possible terms. Dietmar Hopp is an absolutely irreproachable character. He selflessly helps others, he supports countless social projects not least with great financial resources. He intercedes constantly for people in need; he promotes youth soccer and the sport in general in his region; he creates infrastructure for developing new talent. He helps wherever anyone can help. Soccer has to come together in opposition to such acts of aggression. We have to stand together to prevent such outrages. It would be disastrous if people like Deitmar Hopp withdrew from our sport someday. That would be a devastating signal and moreover a great loss for soccer and especially for developing new talent. We have to prevent that.
While Hopp has always been a controversial figure in German football after helping TSG climb to the Bundesliga while undermining the 50+1 rule, the Dortmund supporters’ vitriol can be traced back to the final day of the 2017-18 season. During a game in Sinsheim where BVB lost 3-1, a group of Dortmund fans were accused of using offensive language in chants directed at Hopp. In response, Hoffenheim banned at least 33 BVB fans from attending this weekend’s match.
Statements from Hoffenheim were sent to specific Dortmund supporters, which stated that any fans barred from the match found in the Rhein-Neckar-Arena would be charged with trespassing and taken to court.
The traveling away fans were not so happy with this decision, and they made their voices heard via more offensive chants and this banner which Hoffenheim officials have labeled a death threat.
Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have delivered a joint statement condemning 'the shameful chants, banners and hostility' against German billionaire and TSG Hoffenheim boss Dietmar Hopp in German stadiums last weekend. pic.twitter.com/TKRGS2tgsD— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 25, 2018
Dortmund chief Hanz-Joachim Watzke condemned the supporters and says he will personally apologize to Hopp later this week.
So far, the DFB has not handed down a punishment on the club or their supporters, but it remains within the realm of possibility.