April 4 – A Munich-based business has been forced to apologise to Germany’s former captain Philipp Lahm after he reportedly threatened legal action following an April Fool’s joke claiming he had invested in them.
Several German media outlets ran what later emerged to be a spoof story claiming Lahm, who will retire in June, had invested in the fitness start-up company.
The piece even contained a fake quote attributed to Lahm and a company employee decided to circulate it to the media without the knowledge of its co-founder Vahid Imani.
The joke backfired when Lahm’s management failed to see the funny side and threatened to take the matter to court.
“This thing has nothing to do with fun. In our eyes, it is a cheap trick to use a celebratory for advertising,” Lahm’s advisor Roman Grill told German daily Bild.
In a statement Imani said he was “very sorry that we triggered such a wave” of publicity. “The first of April no longer seems to be what it once was. We, as sportsmen, admit our mistake and will make offerings on how we can rectify things, like by making a donation to the Philipp Lahm Foundation.”
Meanwhile Lahm, who retired from international football after winning the World Cup with Germany in Brazil three years ago and plans to stop playing altogether at the end of this season with Bayern Munich, has been advised not to dabble in politics.
Lahm told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper last weekend that “I think what presumably most Germans think: that Germany should not veer to the right.”
That drew a mild rebuke from the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD) who could enter parliament for the first time when Germany holds a general election in September.
“Philipp Lahm should look after his football and leave politics to others as much as possible,” Georg Pazderski, AfD leader in the Berlin city parliament, told Bild. “If he wants to do politics, he should enter politics and be active there.”
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