Jens Pascal was such a passionate fan of Bundesliga champions Dortmund that he wanted a gravestone featuring the club’s logo, his mother Nicole Schmidt told Bild der Frau magazine.
After the boy died, the parents had such a headstone designed and in July applied for permission to put it in the cemetery of the Catholic Visitation of Mary church in the Bodelschwingh district of Dortmund, where Pascal is buried.
But the church board rejected the stone, on the grounds that “the design is not appropriate for a Catholic cemetery.” Graveyard rules state that “inscriptions and images that are not associated with the Christian faith are not permitted.”
The design features the BVB Dortmund football club logo, next to the club slogan “Real Love,” as well as a football.
The family is now fighting for the right to fulfil the boy’s final wishes, and have started a Facebook group that has already collected over 100,000 supporters. Some Schalke fans – bitter footballing rivals to Dortmund – have also reportedly joined the campaign.
But so far the church has remained adamant, though spokesman Michael Bodin says they have offered to negotiate with Pascal’s parents.