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Football club reject Bild's pro-refugee campaign

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St Pauli is know for its left-wing identity. Photo: DPA
17:30 CEST+02:00
FC St. Pauli, Hamburg's second football club have refused to participate in a campaign to help refugees being run by right-wing tabloid Bild.

This weekend, all 36 of the clubs in Germany's top two football divisions were supposed to wear the "we're helping" logo that Bild came up with to advertise its campaign with the German Football Association (DFB) to help the tens of thousands of refugees currently flooding into Germany.

But football magazine Kicker reported on Wednesday that one club isn't cooperating – Hamburg's St. Pauli, who play in the second division and are known for their fans' strong left-wing leanings.

The club said in a statement that it would rather show its support for refugees through practical engagement.

"St. Pauli has been working for weeks to help those people who are currently fleeing to Germany. The friendly game we recently played against Borussia Dortmund, the private efforts of our players and initiatives of our fans are proof of that," read the statement.

"We therefore decided it was not necessary to take part in this voluntary action organized by the German Football Association,” it continued.

Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann accused the club on Twitter of being hostile to refugees.

"No heart for refugees: that's a shame FC St Pauli #refugeesnotwelcome," he commented.

But Diekmann's comment appeared to backfire as a groundswell of support emerged for St. Pauli on Twitter, with #BILDnotwelcome turning into the top trending hashtag of the day.

Many people questioned the sincerity of the tabloid's campaign and pointed to what they saw as a xenophobic editorial stance at the newspaper.

One commenter wrote "I still don't believe it: #refugeeswelcome from Bild – what next 'give peace a chance' from [weapons manufacturer] Heckler & Koch?"

Meanwhile fans of various other football clubs encouraged them to follow St Pauli's example.

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