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FOOTBALL

DFL asked to make May 1 weekend match free

Pressure is growing on the Bundesliga to keep the weekend over May 1 completely football free – in order to help police forces to manage the demonstrations and riots which usually precede and accompany labour day.

DFL asked to make May 1 weekend match free
May 1 weekend free? Borussia Dortmund's mascot and Nuri Sahin. Photo: DPA

State interior ministers are expected to agree on an appeal to the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL), at the end of the week, according to Der Spiegel.

The magazine reports that a draft statement due to be debated at the interior ministers’ meeting justifies the call for a football-free weekend, because “that the night before May 1 regularly involves very personnel-intensive operations which can be critical for the following year.”

Yet the DFL has confirmed that it has set fixtures for Saturday, April 30 next year. It said it had bowed to political pressure to not hold any matches on May 1 itself, in order enable police forces to staff operations concerning demonstrations and riots.

But the DFL said more than that would be very difficult as international fixture plans and television contracts could not be broken.

“If the DFL does not accede to our calls for a match-free May 1 weekend, we will have to consider charging organisers for police operations in the future,” said North Rhine-Westphalia interior minister Ralf Jäger, of the Social Democratic Union.

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POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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