A twist in the tale: the case of Bakery Jatta appeared to have been settled but now German authorities are pressing charges against the Hamburg footballer after all. Jatta is accused of playing under a false identity.
Local authorities in Germany are pressing charges against Hamburger SV's Gambian winger Bakery Jatta, who is accused of "four counts of breaching the residency act as well as one count of false certification."
According to local prosecutors, Jatta, supposedly born on June 6, 1998, is actually Bakery Daffeh, born on November 6, 1995, who was under contract at several African clubs before arriving in Germany as a refugee in 2015.
He has been under contract at second-division side Hamburg since 2016, for whom he has scored 16 goals in 123 appearances.
In August 2019, tabloid Sport Bild cast doubt on Jatta's identity, prompting a public debate about racism and the treatment of refugees in Germany.
HSV club officials and fans were publicly supportive of their player and local authorities in Bremen, where Jatta had first registered himself, and Hamburg ceased their investigation after Gambian authorities attested that Jatta's documents were valid.
Rival football clubs Nuremberg, Bochum and Karlsruhe, who had officially appealed defeats to HSV, withdrew their claims.
However, in summer 2020, authorities searched Jatta's appartment and seized storage drives and account details, coming across contacts "which didn't make sense," according to the local prosecutor. An official assessment has since determined that Jatta and Daffeh are "highly likely the same person."
Support for Jatta
Jatta's lawyer Thomas Bliwier told press agency DPA: "I don't understand how they can press charges based on this investigation."
While Hamburg again tweeted their support for Jatta, former director of sport Ralf Becker told TV channel Sport1:
"He's clearly said that there is nothing to the claims and that he is who is claims to be. For me, there is no reason to doubt anything.
"I feel sorry for him as a person, having to go through all this. Baka is a highly respectable guy and well integrated. Everyone has their fingers crossed that the issue will soon be put to bed."
The HSV Supporters Club also released a statement reiterating their solidarity with their player:
"Our solidarity is not dependent on a name or on the investigation. Our solidarity is with Bakery, the person. A person who has made our city and our club his home after a long journey. You are one of us, Baka, and you always will be!"
First published: December 7, 2021
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