Hertha Berlin have sacked goalkeeper coach Zsolt Petry with immediate effect after he made anti-gay comments in an interview, the club announced on Tuesday.
Petry, 54, conducted an interview with Hungarian outlet Magyar Nemzet on Monday and made the derogatory comments and criticised Europe’s immigration policy.
Petry said he could not understand why RB Leipzig goalkeeper and fellow Hungarian Peter Gulacsi recently “supported homosexuals, transvestites and people of other sexual identity,” and he could “not understand how Europe could morally sink that low as it has now.”
He added: “The liberals blow up their opinions. If you don’t like migration because many criminal overrun Europe, then they accuse you of being racist.”
After a day’s silence following the emergence of the interview, Hertha Berlin released Petry from his duties at the club on Tuesday.
“Zsolt Petry’s work over the years at Hertha BSC has always been greatly appreciated. He was always open, tolerant and prepared to help. He never acted in a homophobic or xenophobic way,” CEO Carsten Schmidt said in a statement.
Hertha BSC part ways with Zsolt #Petry. Following an interview which the club was initially unaware of, the board has agreed to relieve the goalkeeping coach of his duties with immediate effect. #HaHoHe pic.twitter.com/1FtvgUh15o
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) April 6, 2021
“Even taking into account the finer details regarding the translation of his remarks, and the fact that several of Zsolt’s remarks from the interview were left out of the publication without consultation, we ultimately concluded that the remarks on the whole do not comply with Hertha BSC’s values.
“We thank Zsolt Petry for his work with the club and wish him all the best for the future.”
Petry also apologised for his comments in the club statement and insisted he was regretful of his words.
“I would like to stress that I am not homophobic or xenophobic,” he said. “I deeply regret my comments about immigration politics and would like to apologise to all those seeking refuge here who I have insulted.
“I enjoyed working for Hertha BSC and respect their decision. I wish everyone at the club all the best for the future.”
Petry had been working as a coach at the Bundesliga club since 2015 and made 35 appearances with Hungary during his playing career.