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Hoffenheim´s Hopp to press charges after death threat

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 23 Sep 2008

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Dietmar Hopp, the backer of newly-promoted Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, said Tuesday he will press charges against a Borussia Dortmund fan arrested for displaying a banner threatening to kill him.

A teenage Dortmund supporter was arrested for holding up a poster showing Hopp’s face in a crosshair under the message “Hasta La Vista Hopp!” at the Carl-Benz Stadium on Sunday before Hoffenheim’s 4-1 home win over Dortmund.

Police arrested a 19-year-old man from Halbstadt in the central German state of Saxony-Anhalt before kick-off.

German tabloid Bild also report the fan hurled the insult “son of a whore” at Hopp.

“We will press charges,” Hopp, a multi-millionaire, told Bild.

“A murder threat is not anything to be taken lightly.

“This is not something you can ignore and it is important to send out a clear signal that a line has been crossed.”

Hopp’s lawyer is looking into whether to also launch a civil prosecution against the teenager.

“It is not clear yet whether we can also file a complaint under civil law,” Hopp’s lawyer Dr Johannes Knorz told Bild.

“However, we will press charges because of the insults.

“The ‘whore’ insult was bad enough, but the crosshair on the poster went too far.”

Dortmund bosses have apologised to Hopp.

“What happened was embarrassing, shameful and unbecoming,” Dortmund’s managing director Hans Joachim Watzke told Bild.

The football club have said they will do anything they can to help the police investigation.

Hopp was also insulted by Borussia Moenchengladbach fans on the second weekend of the season and the multi-millionaire rarely travels to Hoffenheim’s away games.

And the German Football Federation (DFB) announced Tuesday afternoon they will give Hopp as much protection as they can and will keep a close eye on the behaviour of fans in future games involving Hoffenheim.

Vice-president Rainer Koch said: “In future, the DFB will intervene for the protection of Dietmar Hopp and pursue any inappropriate behaviour or menaces against him until the perpetrators are caught.”

The entrepreneur became Hoffenheim’s chief backer when they were in the eighth league of German football and fulfilled his dream for them to reach the Bundesliga when they won promotion last season.

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