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FOOTBALL

Bayern top brass come out in support of troubled defender Breno

The curious case of FC Bayern Munich defender Breno, who is being held in custody on suspicion of burning down his own villa, attracted furious reaction from his team’s hierarchy over the weekend.

Bayern top brass come out in support of troubled defender Breno
Photo: DPA

“This is impossible, sticking the boy in prison,” fumed Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß on Saturday evening after his club beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0.

The 21-year-old Brazilian, Vinicius Rodrigues Borges, universally known as Breno, was treated for smoke inhalation after his villa on the outskirts of Munich, caught on fire in the middle of last week.

He was then arrested over the weekend and held in custody, apparently because there was a risk of his fleeing the country or tampering with evidence.

Hoeneß said the latter reasoning was ‘laughable’, while Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Breno had lost his passport in the fire anyhow, and so would not be able to leave Germany.

“One often talks of a celebrity bonus, but I want to make sure there is no celebrity disadvantage,” said Rummenigge. “I ask the public prosecutor to take on the Breno case with the required fairness and sensitivity.”

He said the club would be assuming Breno’s innocence until any case against him came to a conclusion.

Hoeneß said, “I find it unbelievable that the boy, who already has enough trouble on his shoulders in total, that he should also be held in custody. That is inhumane. And if the state prosecutor believes that this is correct in our country, then good night Germany.”

Yet Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, spokesman for the Munich prosecutor said that initial investigations had turned up indications that the fire was not accidental.

Speculation is circulating that Breno is struggling in his personal life, particularly with a recurring knee injury which has prevented him from playing a single game this season. This had apparently flared up again the day before the fire.

Bayern Munich reportedly referred him to the Max Planck Psychiatric Institute for help.

The club has pledged to help him further, potentially with a bail payment to get him out of custody.

“If there is the possibility to free him on bail, we will certainly do everything,” said Hoeneß.

DPA/The Local/hc

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

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