Fan riots - "Could die" - Sport

The police union is concerned about increasing violence around football games and fears a further escalation in the coming weeks. Crossing borders would increase, the clubs would withdraw and hardly do anything against violent fans, said Deputy Federal Chairman Michael Mertens Cologne City Gazette. "If something doesn't change soon, there could be deaths," warned the North Rhine-Westphalia state union chairman in view of the recent excesses of violence.

Recently there had been serious riots by violent fans at the Conference League game of 1. FC Köln in Nice and at the Champions League game of Eintracht Frankfurt in Marseille. Numerous people were injured. According to Mertens, after the end of the Corona-related ghost games, there is a "pent-up need to let off steam" in the violent fan scene: "That was the case at the end of last season, it will continue in the new one."

Mertens demands lifelong stadium bans from the clubs for those involved in serious riots. "The clubs themselves must have an interest in football remaining a family event," said the trade unionist. 1. FC Köln recently announced that they would exclude convicted violent criminals from the club and impose a stadium ban on them.

The fan expert Michael Gabriel had recently stated that there was a growing willingness to use violence: "In our opinion, this has become even more important and valuable within the ultra groups," said the head of the fan projects coordination office Deutschlandfunk. According to Gabriel, the recent increase in violent incidents at the international level is worrying and "very, very disturbing" in its dimensions. In his view, it was lucky that "there were no fatalities" in the two European Cup games in France. During the riot in Nice, a man in the stands fell over a railing from the middle to the lower tier.

Fan representatives rely on de-escalation in the debate. More police is not the solution to the problem, but one goal must be to strengthen the role of socio-educational fan projects. "Unfortunately, however, it can be observed again and again that representatives of the security authorities think they know better solutions and socio-pedagogical expertise is rather smiled at. A turnaround would be desirable here, because so far no law-and-order strategy has prevented misconduct," said Thomas Kessen from "Our Curve" dem sid.

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