Karlsruhe appeals Hamburg loss due to Jatta identity dispute

BERLIN — Karlsruher SC has become the third second-division club in Germany to appeal a loss to Hamburger SV because of questions over former refugee Bakery Jatta's identity.

"The objection is made in view of the unresolved situation regarding the eligibility of HSV player Bakery Jatta, brought to light by known media reports," Karlsruhe said in a short statement on Monday.

Karlsruhe lost 4-2 at home to Hamburg on Saturday, when the 21-year-old Jatta played and was verbally abused by home supporters. Some fans whistled Jatta's every touch.

Karlsruhe sporting director Oliver Kreuzer apologized for the abuse afterward.

Jatta, the first refugee to play in the Bundesliga, is the subject of a dispute regarding his identity since Sport Bild magazine suggested he has been playing under a false name and is in fact two years older than he claims.

Hamburg has consistently backed the player, arguing his documents have been checked and are valid, while the German soccer federation (DFB) and league body (DFL) have given him the green light to play.

"As there is no evidence so far of the player's false identity, the eligibility of Bakery Jatta, born on June 6, 1998, remains valid," the bodies said in a statement on Aug. 12.

But Bochum and Nuremberg had already lodged appeals with the DFB after losing to Hamburg, citing the media reports and questioning Jatta's eligibility to play, and Karlsruhe had indicated before the game that it would follow their example if it dropped points and Jatta played.

Hamburg coach Dieter Hecking asked why Jatta had been subjected to the abuse before answering the question himself after Saturday's game.

"Because the subject was made public. Not from our side, not from the player's side. We have to live with that, that football fans will react to it. This is going to be the same in every stadium now the longer this goes on. Those who have little sense will want to exploit it," Hecking said.

The Hamburg coach called on the DFB and DFL for a resolution, "although they are not obligated at all because Baka has submitted all the documents and they are valid. And if we can't trust the German state, the German authorities, anymore, then we can all go home."

City rival St. Pauli has indicated it will not make an appeal if Jatta plays and it drops points in the Hamburg derby on Sept. 15.

Jatta, who made his debut for Hamburg in April 2017, has made 29 appearances for in the second division and 16 in the Bundesliga. Hamburg was relegated in 2018.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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