Hours before Wednesday's Champions League match against Juventus, the German Bayern Munich soccer team had to apologize after a graphic posted on their Twitter account was misinterpreted as having links to a Nazi-era concentration camp, AFP reported.
The controversy erupted after the Bavarian giants' official Twitter feed posted an image of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, their Allianz Arena stadium and the end of a train track under the text "Here is the end" written in Italian.
The graphic was intended to jokingly suggest the Italian team's exit after the last 16, second leg clash in Munich. The sides drew 2-2 in the first leg in Turin three weeks ago.
But some users pointed out that the train track image was reminiscent of the infamous picture of the railway lines leading to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during the Holocaust.
The Bundesliga leaders quickly posted an apology, noted AFP.
"Unfortunately, our matchday graphic has been misunderstood to represent historic events, something which was never intended," read the statement.
"If we have hurt the feelings of Juventus fans in particular or any other users as a result, we sincerely apologize," it added.
Bayern's media director Markus Hoerwick explained that those responsible for the graphic had failed to make the link.
"The young people who made this graphic didn't have a clue about German history," he said.
Bayern actually has Jewish roots, boasting two Jewish founders and appointing a Jewish president and manager before World War II, reported The Jewish Chronicle. As a consequence, the club was targeted by the Nazis when they came to power.
The vice-president of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruben Della Rocca, told the Italian newspaper Tuttosport that the graphic was “a great faux-pas, which shouldn’t have happened to a club like FC Bayern”, The Guardian quoted him as saying.
At the same time, Della Rocca stressed that he believed the ill-judged photomontage had been a mistake rather than a deliberate attempt to offend anyone.