- Associated Press - Friday, August 2, 2019

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) - Schalke chairman Clemens Tönnies has apologized for comments he made linking climate change with overpopulation in Africa.

Tönnies made the comments at a “Handworkers’ Day” meeting with 1,600 guests in Paderborn, where he reportedly criticized tax increases to fight climate change and suggested it was better to finance 20 power plants a year in Africa.

“Then the Africans would stop cutting down trees, and they would stop making babies when it gets dark,” the Neue Westfälische local newspaper quoted Tönnies as saying.

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The comments were widely condemned as racist and Tönnies apologized both in a statement issued by Schalke and on Twitter, where he said: “I am for an open and diverse society. I am sorry for the comment on the large number of children in Africa.”

Tönnies told the Schalke website: “As Chairman of the supervisory board of FC Schalke 04, I am 1,000 percent behind our club values. This includes the fight against racism, discrimination and exclusion. On the basis of that I expressly wish to excuse myself. It was wrong, rash and thoughtless and in no way in line with our values. I am very sorry.”

Tönnies heads the Tönnies Group, a meat-processing food giant with around 16,500 employees that specializes in the slaughter of pigs and cattle. The group posted revenues of 6.65 billion euros ($7.37 billion) last year.


More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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