Aaron Hunt hailed for penalty honesty

Werder Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt has won praise for admitting to a dive, which made the referee reverse his decision to award a penalty during the 2-0 win at Nurnberg.

Bremen were already ahead by two goals in Saturday’s relegation battle when Aaron Hunt fell in Nurnberg’s box and referee Manuel Graefe awarded a penalty for the 2004 Bundesliga champions.

But the half-English former Germany international urged Graefe to take back the penalty decision.

“It was clear to me that I made a mistake,” Bremen captain Hunt told reporters after the game. “That’s why I did not have to think much about it. We don't want to win like that, not even in a battle for relegation.”

Ex-Wigan striker Franco di Santo, who opened the scoring for Bremen, said: “I was surprised. If a player would do that in Argentina, the fans would wait outside his home. But it was the right decision and honest.”

Bremen sporting director Thomas Eichin admitted that at first he had mixed feelings about Hunt’s decision.

“You see that penalty that could make it 3-0, and you know that Nurnberg can pull one back on the other side, and that could change the run of events,” he told reporters. “[But] I have the greatest respect for Aaron’s decision. That’s totally an exemplary gesture.”

The German media also greeted Hunt’s decision positively, with kicker also calling it “an exemplary gesture”, and Nurnberg daily NZ commenting that “this little gesture shows there is room for fair play in football. Even when battling for relegation.”

The German tabloid Bild, used the headline “Herrlich ehrlich”, which translates as “refreshingly honest.”