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German football fans banned for anti-gay banner

German football club Borussia Dortmund gives fans maximum three year penalty for homophobic banner
Fans at the Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen game banned for homophobic banner

German football club Borussia Dortmund has banned fans who waved a homophobic banner at a match.

Members of the Ultra group, which was responsible for displaying the anti-gay message during a home game against Werder Bremen on 17 March, have received the maximum penalty of a three year ban from the stadium.

In a statement on the club's website, Dortmund met with the group to discuss the incident and they have since apologized.

'In these discussions we made it very clear that Borussia Dortmund is for tolerance, openness and respectful behavior toward everyone. We condemn violence and racism,' Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said, reported the Associated Press.

In January, gay footballers were urged to come out by the head of the German Football Association.

Theo Zwanziger called on players to 'have the courage to declare themselves,' saying attitudes within football have changed in recent years, reported The Local.

The comments followed star footballer Phillip Lahm's claims that Germany is not yet ready to accept openly gay athletes.

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