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Football : Schalke 04 chairman under fire over racist comments on Africa

Schalke O4 chairman Clemens Tönnies. / Ph. Christof Koepsel
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Schalke O4 chairman Clemens Tönnies is under fire for making racist comments on Africa. The German entrepreneur, who heads the club where Moroccan international footballer Amine Harit plays, has been pressured by fans to resign.

In a public meeting held in Paderborn, a city in Western Germany, Tönnies said that the best way to fight climate change is to stop deforestation in Africa and prevent Africans from «having babies», the Guardian reports.

«Then the Africans would stop cutting down trees, and they would stop making babies when it gets dark», Tönnies said.

His remarks were dubbed «racist», which pushed him to later apologize. «I would like to apologize to you (…) It was wrong, thoughtless and inconsiderate», he said in a statement published on the club’s website.

However, Tönnies’s apology did not put an end to the controversy surrounding his comments. According to the Guardian, the German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht urged the German Football Association (DFB) to «intervene», stating that «racism must be loudly and clearly contradicted at every opportunity».

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