Eintracht Frankfurt president Peter Fischer has said members of the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party have no place at the club.
AfD won around 13 percent of the vote in September’s general election, meaning that a far-right party entered the German Bundestag for the first time since the Second World War.
In 2016, one of the party’s leaders, Alexander Gauland, caused a backlash when he said of Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng: “People like him as a football player. But they don’t want to have a Boateng as their neighbour.”
And speaking to conservative broadsheet FAZ, Fischer said: “I am not naive, and I am convinced that AfD voters are among them [the club’s members].
“But I will make it very clear what we think about this and that the club stands for other values and goals.
“Sport must be political, not only when it comes to sporting politics. The sport must raise its voice against aberrations in society.
“As one of the biggest and most reputable clubs in Germany, I must be willing to show a clear edge and take a position and say there are more important things than if the ball crosses the line in injury time or not.”
Citing the club’s Jewish history and its efforts in the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, he said: “I no longer trust anyone in this country where national populists can get 13 percent of the vote.
“I will take a clear position on our general assembly that it is not in tune with our statues to vote for AfD. Nobody voting for this party, where there are racist and inhuman tendencies, can be our member.”
Eintracht Frankfurt’s squad boasts players of 18 different nationalities including United States international Timothy Chandler and Mexico midfielder Marco Fabian.
They are coached by Berlin-born Niko Kovac, a former Croatia international, while 25 different sports including boxing, ice hockey and darts are open to the 45,000 members.
AfD responded through its spokespeople for the state of Hesse, rejecting Fischer’s remarks.
“Whoever raises charges of anti-Semitism in such an unfounded fashion puts himself in an offside position democratically,” a statement said.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.