Hertha Berlin striker Salomon Kalou says that there is 'absolutely no truth' to stories about him defacing the Berlin Wall. A Berlin newspaper had said the Ivorian could face a major fine for the incident.
Ivory Coast and Hertha Berlin striker Salomon Kalou has reacted to accusations that he could be fined up to 10,000 euros ($10,535) for using a hammer and chisel on the Berlin Wall.
The African football star, formerly of English Premier League side Chelsea, was being filmed by the "Sportschau" TV program for a pre-match report, to suggest that Kalou would be able to break down Schalke's defense on Saturday. The 29-year-old mimicked breaking off a piece of the wall with the tools at the tourist attraction, the Eastside Gallery.
The show's presenter at the time, Gerhard Delling, said after the report was shown "He's actually knocked a piece out of the Berlin Wall. The beautiful old Berlin Wall."
But Kalou reacted to a wave of German media reports on Monday with a personal tweet on Twitter saying there was 'absolutely no truth' to the story and that the club's legal team was now getting involved.
'Nearly fell off the sofa when I saw the footage'
The Berlin Wall, which divided Germany's capital from 1961 to 1989, has been under a protection order since 1991, with anyone seen to deface what remains of the historical landmark facing serious fines. Berlin authorities are apparently set to investigate whether any damage was done, according to the Berlin newspaper "Berliner Kurier."
"I nearly fell off the sofa when I saw the footage," Kani Alavi, the chairman of the Eastside Gallery, told the paper. "Here we have a well-paid celebrity increasing his market value at the expense of a national monument. Without respect and with the clear backing of television."
"Just because there is no security patrolling the Gallery, doesn't mean you can go around doing what you want," Alavi continued. "If he had done that at the Brandenburg Gate, the player would probably have been arrested."
In August 2012, two men who wore blue shirts representing the youth group of former communist East Germany at a rally honoring victims of the Berlin Wall, were fined 2,700 euros for their actions.
A spokesperson for the regional station involved in the filmwork, RBB, told news agency SID that "according to our knowledge no piece of the wall was knocked out of the wall."
"For us it is important that the trend of removing bits of the Wall doesn't start up again. We just wanted to reconstruct it for television."