German prosecutors accuse soccer player of faking name, age

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — A professional soccer player from Gambia has been charged with using a false identity to breach German immigration law.

German prosecutors said Monday that Bakery Jatta, a Gambian forward who signed for Hamburg in 2016, is actually named Bakary Daffeh and is two-and-a-half years older than his stated age of 23. He has been charged with four breaches of immigration law and one of providing false documents by proxy.

An attorney for Jatta, Thomas Bliwier, told the dpa news agency that his client “has clearly proven his identity” and that he would apply for the case to be dropped.

Prosecutors said Jatta arrived in Germany in 2015 without a passport and gave a date of birth which denoted he was under 18, and that he was therefore classified as a child refugee subject to additional legal protection. He signed for Hamburg in 2016 following a tryout and won renown as a refugee player competing in the Bundesliga. Jatta has played in all of Hamburg’s second-division games this season.

Prosecutors said Jatta previously played for “various African clubs” under the name Daffeh, and that after arriving in Germany he obtained Gambian documents in the name of Jatta.

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