March 15, 2017 / 4:28 PM / 2 years ago

Soccer club sues German far-right party over tweeted picture with star

BERLIN (Reuters) - Berlin’s top soccer club is suing the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) after it tweeted a photograph of one of the team’s star players with an AfD politician.

FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Herta Berlin v Mainz - Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany - 20/12/15 - Berlin's Marvin Plattenhardt in action REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

Hertha BSC said it had filed for a court injunction to force the anti-immigration AfD to delete the picture showing defender Marvin Plattenhardt with Frank Scheermesser, a lawmaker in the parliament of the city-state Berlin.

Plattenhardt, who scored the winning goal to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Saturday, told reporters he had been signing autographs for fans after the game and was not aware that the man next to him was an AfD politician.

Hertha’s lawyer, Christian-Oliver Moser, said the tweet, which has the caption “Our lawmaker with the winning scorer”, breached Plattenhardt’s rights, and the AfD’s Berlin branch that posted it could be fined up to 250,000 euros ($265,000).

AfD was founded in 2003 as a platform to oppose financial bailouts to indebted countries in the euro zone and has since morphed into an anti-immigrant party that is forecast to enter parliament for the first time in a federal election on Sept. 24.

Germans who feel the arrival of more than a million mainly Muslim refugees over the last two years is a threat to their culture have helped the party enter 10 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments.

It is expected to be the third largest party in the Bundestag lower house after the September general election.

Hertha Berlin are fifth in German soccer’s top flight Bundesliga. Dortmund are third.

($1 = 0.9420 euros)

(The story was refiled to add the country to the headline)

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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