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Borussia Dortmund soccer club bans fans for anti-gay sign

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Fighting homophobia in European soccer has been stuck in neutral -- one step forward, one step back -- for years. The latest step forward is action taken by German soccer club Borussia Dortmund to ban fans who held a homophobic sign at the club's March 17 match against Werder Bremen. The club handed out the maximum penalty of a three-year ban, according to Pink News.

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “In these discussions we made it very clear that Borussia Dortmund is for tolerance, openness and respectful behavior toward everyone. We condemn violence and racism.”

Dortmund is located about 60 miles northeast of Cologne and 150 miles southeast of Amsterdam.

PHOTO: LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Mikel Arteta of Arsenal and Moritz Leitner of Dortmund battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal FC and Borussia Dortmund at Emirates Stadium on November 23, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)