Admin I Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023
BERLIN – Racism in German football remains a problem, according to figures from a registration office for discrimination in football in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).
The office has registered 211 potentially racist incidents, 95 of them in the professional game, since July 2022 in the region.
The number is higher than figures from the German Football Federation (DFB) which has noted three cases of discrimination or racism in the past season in the professional game.
The DFB had listed 35 incidents in 2016-17, and DFB spokesman Michael Morsch has said that “every case is one too many.”
Unlike the DFB, the NRW registration office also lists racist incidents in social media, as well as right-wing symbols such as stickers, clothing or banners, apart from the general behaviour in the stadiums.
“We are not only recording verbal and physical incidents,” the project’s chairwoman, Elena Müller, has said.
“The large majority of cases involve wrongdoing from fans,” she said. “At the moment we are seeing more Hitler salutes being observed and reported.”
Bundesliga players including Dayot Upamecano and Mathys Tel of Bayern Munich, Benjamin Henrichs of RB Leipzig, Youssufa Moukoko of Borussia Dortmund and Jessic Ngankam of Eintracht Frankfurt have been the target of racist abuse in social media.
According to Daniela Wurbs from the Kick In information centre for inclusion in football more action is needed than a simple condemnation by clubs and federations.
“To distance yourself in quick statements without taking any action especially helps the offenders and lets potential victims doubt the credibility of the engagement and the safety in stadiums,” Wurbs said.
But Wurbs also notes a growing engagement from clubs and fans to counter racism, such as contact points for victims which she said UEFA also plans to use at the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.
For Greuther Fürth coach Alexander Zorniger, fans must become more active at games, such as at their recent German Cup match at Hallescher FC where Fürth player Julian Green was racially abused.
“The stadium is filled to 95%. There were enough people present who could have stepped in. Stand up and say: this is not on!” Zorniger said.
“If we don’t do that the brown riff-raff gets the upper hand. That simply can not happen.”