06:16 GMT14 April 2021
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    Hungary’s Fidesz party has been in government since 2010 and prime minister Viktor Orbán has taken a strong populist line on immigration. But in Germany criticising immigrants is seen as an extreme position.

    The Hungarian government has summoned an official from the German embassy in Budapest after a Bundesliga club sacked their goalkeeping coach for his outspoken remarks on immigration in a newspaper interview.

    Zsolt Petry, who won 38 caps for Hungary between 1988 and 1996, blamed immigration for the "moral downfall" of Europe as a "Christian continent."

    ​On Tuesday, 6 April, Hertha Berlin fired Petry, 54, after learning of the contents of the interview which was published in the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet,

    Hertha Berlin said Petry's remarks breached the club's commitment to “values of diversity and tolerance” and it had terminated his contract with immediate effect.

    But Hungary's foreign ministry said the decision to sack him meant the club had "restricted free expression."

    In a statement they said: "Germany, like Hungary, has direct historical experience of terror of opinion, so guarding the fundamental right to freedom of expression is our common moral duty.”

    ​In the newspaper interview Petry also criticised Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who plays for RB Leipzig, for posting a Facebook message in which he expressed solidarity with a same-sex adoption campaign.

    Viktor Orban claims he is trying to turn Hungary into a "Christian-conservative" bastion against the all-pervasive culure of western liberalism.

    ​Orban's cabinet chief Gergely Gulyas said the decision to sack Petry was "outrageous."

    Petry has denied being "homophobic” or "xenophobic" and apologised "to all the people who are seeking refuge."

    Hertha Berlin are currently fifth from bottom of the Bundesliga, only two points outside the relegation zone.

    Tags:
    Viktor Orban, Bundesliga, Germany, Hungary
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