Hooligan violence raises football stadium worries

Hooligan violence raises football stadium worries
Photo: DPA
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.

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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