Bundesliga soccer club Werder Bremen has suspended midfielder Naby Keita until the end of the season.

“Naby’s behavior cannot be tolerated by us as a club. With this action, he has let his team down in a tense sporting and personnel situation and has placed himself above the team. We cannot allow that,” said Clemens Fritz, head Professional football at SV Werder, quoted in a club statement.

Keita did not travel with the team to Leverkusen on Saturday after learning that he would not be in the starting line-up for the Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen. Instead, he had decided to go home and stay away from the game. “In this phase of the season, we need full focus on the remaining games and a team that is very close together. Therefore, there was no alternative to our measures,” said Fritz.

Fritz: Keita “knows he made huge mistakes”

The Guinea international, who is under contract with Werder until June 30, 2026, will from now on not be allowed to train with the team or be in the professional dressing room. According to the club, the 29-year-old will also receive a “significant” fine. According to media reports, Keita has to pay around 100,000 euros.

“We had extensive discussions with Naby and his advisors and took the necessary time for it. He was insightful and knows that he made a huge mistake,” Fritz told the multimedia portal “Deichstube”.

Keita moved from Liverpool FC to Werder this season and was considered a great source of hope for coach Ole Werner’s team. However, due to injuries, he has only made five Bundesliga appearances so far.

Immediate termination of the contract was also discussed

After the Leverkusen scandal, there was also talk of immediately terminating the contract. However, both sides were unable to agree on this in such a short amount of time. However, the talks should continue. “We’ll see what happens after the season. Our full focus now has to be on the last games. That’s why this topic has now been ticked off for us,” said Fritz. After seven games without a win, Werder is only five points ahead of the relegation place.

Keita was sometimes insulted and racially abused on social media because of his behavior. The club condemned this in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We strongly condemn the racist comments on social media against Naby Keita. Inhumane statements are not compatible with the values ​​of SV Werder. Anyone who writes such comments cannot be a fan of our club. A clear stand against racism!”