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Klinsmann could be called as witness in NPD racism case

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Klinsmann could be called as witness in NPD racism case
Klinsmann on the pitch during the 206 World Cup. Photo: DPA
14:50 CEST+02:00
Former national football team coach Jürgen Klinsmann and President of the German Football Association (DFB) Theo Zwanziger could be called as witnesses in a racial discrimination trial in Berlin against the head of the neo-Nazi NPD party Udo Voigt and two of his associates.

Voigt's lawyers have managed to stall the court case by applying for several new pieces of evidence, including calling on two of German football's leading figures to stand as witnesses, officials said on Tuesday.

Voigt and the other NPD leaders are accused of racially offending German national footballer Patrick Owomoyela – who was born in Germany to a Nigerian father and a German mother – in a World Cup planner printed in 2006. The cover of the planner showed a German football jersey with the caption, “White. Not just a shirt-colour! For a truly national team!”

The court-case is centred on the number on the shirt pictured, which the state prosecutors claim is a 25, Owomoyela's squad number in the 2006 World Cup squad.

A second version of the planner showed a mocked-up picture of the German national team with only one white team member featuring a text suggesting that the team was becoming overrun with immigrants. The prosecutors claim that the flyer denies non-white Germans the right to play for the national team.

The charges were brought by the DFB and Owomoyela after tens of thousands of the planners were confiscated by authorities three years ago, and the DFB attempted to legally block its distribution.

Voigt's lawyers claim that the number in question is a 26, Sebastian Deisler's shirt number, and that Owomoyela was not specifically referred to in the flyer. They have called Klinsmann as a witness in order to prove that the NPD's planner had “no effect” on his choosing the national team.

The prosecutors claim that Klinsmann and Zwanziger's testimonies would be irrelevant to the case, and do not expect the applications to bring them to the stand will be successful.

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