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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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.