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Action urged after German football riots

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22 Oct 2012 16:17:27

Action urged after German football riots

The German Football League (DFL) was on Monday facing pressure from politicians and the police union to act in the wake of rioting between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 fans at the weekend.

Clashes between rival fans and police in Dortmund before Schalke earned a 2-1 win at Borussia on Saturday in the German league left 11 people injured, including eight police officers, and led to 180 arrests.

Dortmund police say the violence was the worst they have seen in recent years having had to use pepper spray and a water cannon to break up rioting during several separate incidents with 1200 officers deployed for the match.

The DFL's security commission met in Frankfurt on Monday to discuss the issue ahead of Wednesday's Champions League group game between Real Madrid and the German champions in Dortmund.

"The riots show clearly that the time for action is now," politician Lorenz Caffier, leader of the German conference of state interior ministers, told the magazine Sport Bild.

"Despite extensive discussions with fan groups in the summer, it has manifestly failed to stem violence in football stadiums."

Police say the violence had been organised by hooligans, known as "ultras" in Germany, from both clubs and a group of 600 Schalke fans was attacked by masked Dortmund supporters en route to the stadium which led to police intervention.

A restaurant near the stadium was demolished by Dortmund fans who used the furnishings as weapons as police officers were pelted with pieces of pavement during clashes.

"The forms of violence shown against opposing fans and also police officers should not be tolerated by the clubs and politicians," added Caffier.

"There has been enough talking, now action must follow."

On Monday, the clubs issued a joint statement.

"Despite all the joy at our derby victory, I am saddened by these events," said Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies. Of the 180 arrests made, 163 were Schalke fans and 17 were Dortmund supporters.

"We are currently in talks with the police and will resolve issues from the riots carefully," said Dortmund director Dr. Christian Hockenjos.

"The police have charged individuals with assault, aggravated assault, resisting arrest and insulting officers."

Those convicted face stadium bans.

"Proven serious violations will be consistently punished with stadium bans," read the statement. "We are very concerned and apologise to the victims of the violent offenders, they will get all the help we can give."

Meanwhile, the police union has called for an immediate end to dialogue with fan groups.

"There is a small group of around 4,000 hooligans and ultras, this group doesn't speak to us, they don't want to talk to us at all," Arnold Plickert, deputy chief of the North Rhine-Westphalia police union, said in a radio interview.

"This group doesn't respect laws or regulations, so the time for round table discussions is over."

Plickert said there needs to be specially appointed football prosecutors.

"We need football prosecutors who know the business on a daily basis, who know the processes, so that we have a uniform standard," he said, adding "identified offenders and violent criminals" should be banned from all stadiums nationwide.


AFP

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