Hertha Berlin defender Dedryck Boyata denied kissing teammate Marko Grujic after images of him having an up-close encounter with the latter surfaced on the internet. The incident took place during Hertha Berlin’s match against Hoffenheim, which the former won 3-0.
The gesture by the footballer saw him receive heavy criticism, including a rap from senior German politician Markus Soeder, who stated that he expected the league to “tighten up” instructions on how to celebrate goals.
However, Boyata later clarified that he was passing instructions to Grujic while they were getting ready for a set-piece.
The incident happened in the early stages of the game when Boyata held Grujic by the neck and came into very close contact with him, a clear breach of the Bundesliga’s guidelines on player contact.
Boyota posted a video of the incident on Instagram and apologised for his gesture. “I apologize for putting my hands on (Grujic’s) face,” Boyata wrote, adding that “it wasn’t a kiss” or “a celebration” when he grabbed the Serbia midfielder.
Boyata auf Instagram: “It wasn’t a kiss, neither a celebration. I apologize for putting my hands on Grujic’s face. I was giving him instructions about a set piece. We must definitely be careful now that we play under this situation. We have to adapt our way to play or celebrate.” pic.twitter.com/ayZHIF1UEL
— HERTHA BSC EDITS (@EditsBsc) May 17, 2020
“I was giving him instructions about a set piece. We must definitely be careful now that we play under this situation,” added the 29-year-old. We have to adapt our way to play or celebrate,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia defended his players, who hugged in celebration after their goals, insisting it is part of the game. “We’ve been tested so many times that we can allow it,” Labbadia was quoted in a report in SkySports. “If you can’t celebrate anymore, the whole thing breaks down,” he added.
After a gap of two months due to coronavirus, Bundesliga finally resumed in Germany on Saturday with clubs agreeing to maintain hygiene guidelines approved by the German government.