Hooligan violence raises football stadium worries

Stadium security is extremely lacking in Germany’s lower football divisions, according to the unions representing police and security personnel, which believes the atmosphere is growing increasingly toxic at matches.

Hooligan violence raises football stadium worries
Photo: DPA

The call for better security comes in the wake of serious rioting last weekend at a third-division football match in Osnabrück. More than two dozen fans and police officers were injured in clashes. Police have said they are particularly concerned by explosive devices at matches – one police officer was treated in hospital for blast trauma following the rioting.

According to the German Police Union (DPoIG) and the Security Industry Federation (BDSW), the violence could repeat itself in the third, fourth or fifth divisions unless immediate steps are taken to improve security.

“Many clubs put out too few or poorly trained ushers that are overwhelmed in an emergency,” BDSW spokesman Harald Olschok told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. He said only ushers with specialized training and certifications should be allowed at matches.

The DPoIG said football violence is moving to matches below the second division because although security has been stepped up for top matches, it has been neglected in the country’s lesser leagues.

It complained of a “dangerous amateurism” and warned of more problems in the future.

Officials have previously fretted that violence and crime in Germany’s top levels of football have been increasing and could be filtering to lower leagues.

Last spring, media reports said the number of “violent, violence-prone or violence-seeking” fans had grown significantly and police were having to work harder to keep order.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners