Hertha Berlin's appeal against
the result of a relegation play-off was rejected by the German football association's (DFB) top tribunal on Friday ending a
weeks-long court battle over a troubled second leg against
The tribunal upheld a May 21 court decision that ruled there
was no reason to replay the second leg that saw Fortuna triumph
4-3 on aggregate to gain promotion to the Bundesliga, sending
the Berlin club down for the second time in three seasons.
The return leg in Dusseldorf, which finished 2-2, was
interrupted twice for a total of about 30 minutes by a pitch
invasion and flares.
"The reason for the appeal that argued the Berlin club was
weakened due to the incidents towards the end of the game could
not be confirmed by the evidence," said the DFB federal court's
presiding judge Goetz Eilers after a marathon 10-hour hearing.
The game was first stopped after Fortuna scored on the hour
to take a 2-1 lead, leaving Hertha needing two goals.
Dozens of lit flares from both groups of fans landed on the
pitch, prompting referee Wolfgang Stark to stop play.
The game was interrupted again for more than 20 minutes deep
in stoppage time after hundreds of Fortuna fans poured on to the
pitch thinking the game was over and forcing both teams to seek
refuge in the changing rooms.
The Berlin club has not yet decided whether it will take the
"We are disappointed with the verdict," said Hertha
president Werner Gegenbauer. "But we will not decide tonight
what we will do now."
Hertha had said their players were afraid to return to the
pitch and their decision to continue playing was only taken so
as not to escalate the situation.
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