Soccer-Hertha sack ex-Arsenal keeper Lehmann for racist message

FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Quarter Final Second Leg - Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City - Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany - April 14, 2021 Former player Jens Lehmann before the match Pool via REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

(Reuters) - Hertha Berlin have sacked former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann from his role on their supervisory board after he sent a racist message to television pundit Dennis Aogo, the Bundesliga club said on Wednesday.

Aogo, a former Germany international who works for Sky Germany, posted a screenshot on Instagram of a message he received from Lehmann ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg between Manchester City and Paris St Germain.

In the message, Lehmann referred to Aogo as "a token Black guy".

"Such statements are in no way representative of the values that Hertha stands for," club president Werner Gegenbauer said in a statement. "We distance ourselves from all forms of racism."

Lehmann, who won 61 caps with Germany, said he had contacted Aogo to apologise for the incident.

"In a private message from my mobile phone to Dennis Aogo, an impression was created for which I apologised in conversation with Dennis," Lehmann wrote on Twitter. "As a former national team player he is very knowledgeable and has a great presence."

Lehmann played for Arsenal from 2003 to 2008 and was a key member of the "Invincibles" team who were undefeated throughout the 2003-04 Premier League campaign.

He won an FA Cup in 2005 but will also be remembered as the first goalkeeper to be red-carded in a Champions League final, for a foul on striker Samuel Eto’o in the 2006 final defeat against Barcelona.

Lehmann retired in 2011 after a career that also saw him play for Schalke, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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