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Neo-Nazi caught coaching youth football despite club ban

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Neo-Nazi caught coaching youth football despite club ban
Lutz Battke in a file photo. Photo: DPA
15:55 CEST+02:00
A children's football coach suspended from his club in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt for his membership in the neo-Nazi NPD party has defied the ban and is back on the pitch, according to media reports on Friday.

Right-wing extremist Lutz Battke has been recently photographed at football practice in Laucha by broadcaster MDR, despite being suspended from his post in late August.

His football club, BSC 99 Laucha, gave in to massive pressure in August, banning him after months of conflict with the state sporting association (LSB) and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), who objected to Battke's membership in the far-right party.

The 52-year-old, who sports an Adolf Hitler-style moustache and a mullet, sits on the local county and city councils for the NPD. He is also planning to run for state parliament next year, MDR reported. Both the LSB and the DOSB found that his political affiliation him unfit to lead a children's sports team.

But both Battke and BSC 99 Laucha appear to be defying the sporting authorities.

“This is insufferable news, which goes without saying,” president of the LSB Andreas Silbersack told MDR when shown the photographs. “Obviously some people use this position as a platform and use sports for a purpose they are not meant for.”

The LSB will pursue measures to have Battke permanently removed from the club, Silbersack said.

In a separate interview with news magazine Der Spiegel Silbersack said the entire football club could be dissolved for its failure to comply with the ban, calling the situation a “provocation.”

The LSB recently revised its rules to allow for a heavier hand against political extremism within sporting clubs, the magazine added.

But residents in the town of 3,000 who spoke with Der Spiegel seemed more upset about the “aggressive media interest” in their community than the possible far-right indoctrination of their children.

The NPD is deeply entrenched there, garnering 13.5 percent of the vote in the last community election – more than anywhere else in the state, the magazine said.

Battke, who is a master chimney sweep, is no stranger to headlines, though. In April 2008, state authorities stripped him of his position, which is akin to that of a civil servant. But he won a court appeal that July and was allowed to return to his post.

The Local/ka

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