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Neo-Nazis using sports clubs to spread message, researcher says

The Local · 18 Jan 2011, 09:00

Published: 18 Jan 2011 09:00 GMT+01:00

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Sociologist at the University of Hannover, Gunter Pilz, has found that neo-Nazis are taking advantage of a general unwillingness to volunteer at sports clubs to install members as functionaries and coaches. Some are also founding their own sports clubs, he said.

There they organise free time activities for young people in an attempt to gain a foothold for their ideas in the centre of German society, he added.

“It’s not just a problem in the east,” Pilz said, explaining that he has observed the phenomenon across the country.

The problem has gained the most attention for being at football clubs, but other sports are also included, though there it is often “suppressed” or “played down,” he said.

The sociologist’s comments came ahead of a meeting on Tuesday in Berlin for politicians and sporting authorities, who aim to create an initiative against right-wing extremism in sports.

Pilz urged participants to make the event more than just a “flash in the pan,” but to increase vigilance against the politicization of sports.

A "healthy mistrust" would also benefit Germans, he said.

Sports are often portrayed as a place where only “good people” congregate, which makes it easier for neo-Nazis to operate without suspicion, he said.

In October 2010 a children’s football coach made headlines when he was caught defying a ban from his club in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt for his membership in the neo-Nazi NPD party.

Story continues below…

Right-wing extremist Lutz Battke was photographed at football practice in Laucha by broadcaster MDR, despite being suspended from his post earlier in the year.

The state sporting association (LSB) said then that it would pursue measures to have Battke permanently removed from the club.

DAPD/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:28 January 18, 2011 by harris13
It makes perfect sense. Society has all but forgotten the importance of the youth.

The Neo-Nazi Party are using the perhaps most lethal weapon ever known to humankind......the mind of the youth. It should be noted that over 55% of the world's population is under 25 years of age.

Perhaps more positive aspects of our society should take note and vist a few sports practices!
14:18 January 18, 2011 by Gretl
"In October 2010 a children¦#39;s football coach made headlines when he was caught defying a ban from his club in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt for his membership in the neo-Nazi NPD party.

Right-wing extremist Lutz Battke was photographed at football practice in Laucha by broadcaster MDR, despite being suspended from his post earlier in the year."

The Local has not provided any evidence that they are preaching to children, but that they attended a practice. I am not ready to ban people from the pitch just for showing up. I would like more evidence of actual recruiting before condemning people.
19:36 January 18, 2011 by storymann
Yes I agree ,lets not jump on the locals wagon here,,two incidents does not make coaching childrens's football a Nazi domain,which is what this yellow journalism is trying to make it..
20:15 January 18, 2011 by teutonic-knight
@ storymann, good point
22:00 January 18, 2011 by wxman
I don't know, this smacks of Hitler Youth to me. ;~)
13:44 January 19, 2011 by derExDeutsche
I imagine this happens mostly in the east. They would, mostly, be the ones still calling themselves Nazis. You can still be hate Jews and love Big Govt. Socialism in Germany, but you're going to have to be part of the Green Party.
14:20 January 19, 2011 by barbicane
I totally agree with wxman. I disagree with derExDeutsche. I recall that former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer spoke up in defense of Israel at the conference in South Africa where other nations were bashing the Jewish homeland. Greens hate Jews? Hardly! And, for the record, there is nothing wrong with America that a healthy dose of socialism couldn't fix.
14:42 January 19, 2011 by storymann
barbicane,,I think we are getting it now as I write.
15:14 January 19, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ barbicane

take the kiffiyeh off your eyes, its blocking your view. Who was it on that 'Peace Flotilla', then came back and made big speeches filled with BS before a certain video was made public? hmm.

and you can keep the socialism, too, Homie.
20:00 January 19, 2011 by michael4096
1. youth sports clubs are more important in Germany because they replace school sports - i.e. the only sports around

2. neo-nazis can have kids too, I suppose

3. protection of kids is essential, over-protection by eliminating all perceived negative influences counter-productive; as a doctor once said to me (almost): "let them eat dirt"
21:11 January 19, 2011 by derExDeutsche
I could bet my last lolipop, that these are East German former Fussball Hooligans who have been associated with some so-called Nazi groups. When in reality, we are talking about small groups of low income beer guzzling idiots with shaved heads. Not really the picture of a 'Nazi' that makes me worry an impeding world takeover. Chillax.

this isn't Hitler and Goebbels conspiring to launch the 4th Reich here.
15:36 January 20, 2011 by GermanAussier
Living in a university town in the east, those beer guzzling idiots can make a simple trip to go shopping seem like dental surgery. And i'm white! I can't imagine what the Asian and African students of the university here have to put up with. But now I'm starting to sound like my happiness index is going down. I think I need a beer....
17:28 January 20, 2011 by teutonic-knight
@ GermanAussier,

Better to use the word by country of origin. For example, German.

because the word white is very vague and cover a large group of people. As a matter of fact, a mongolian can claim his skin is white. So it is better to say be country of origin.
18:07 January 20, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ GermanAussier

in that case, you'll be happy to hear that they will not be bothering you, they are on the soccer pitch.
22:33 February 10, 2011 by NowSwimBack
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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