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Conference of Interior Ministers makes demands on clubs

The conference of federal and state interior ministers has called on professional clubs and the German Football League (DFL) to do more to combat violence in stadiums. At the end of their autumn conference in Berlin on Friday, the interior ministers also urged that the clubs comply with the guidelines of the German Football Association (DFB) on structural and personnel measures in the stadiums, also to ensure effective control at entry. The Conference of Sports Ministers was asked to make the current situation a focus of their next meeting.

“It is high time that we consistently show the small violent minority in our stadiums the red card,” said Hamburg’s Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD). In response to the increasing clashes between fans and police in Bundesliga stadiums, the German Football Association called on both sides to treat each other more respectfully this week.

“We view current developments with concern. The DFB is interested in criminals being prosecuted, especially if they exploit football for their own purposes. There should be no blanket criminalization of fans, just as there should be no prejudgment of police measures,” the association said in response to a request from the German Press Agency.

This formulation was not well received by some interior ministers. It was said that the impression was created that the violent fans and the police were two equal groups. There have been massive riots at football games recently. The sad highlight was the riots at the end of November during the Eintracht Frankfurt game against VfB Stuttgart, with more than 200 people injured.

Police operations in amateur football

In German amateur football, there were 542 police operations nationwide in the 2022/2023 season. Compared to around 1.5 million games, this was only a small proportion of 0.036 percent, explained North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) in a report for his colleagues at the Interior Ministers’ Conference.

While the police data for the first four leagues has been collected for years, the statistics for the amateur games were available for the first time. The result is manageable, says Reul in the paper that is available to the German Press Agency: “All countries report unanimously that the phenomenon of “violence in amateur football” is the subject of media reporting, but is of secondary importance in police operational management and is not comparable with the events in the four highest German leagues.”

Jan Ehrhardt Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 14 A comment from Thomas Klemm Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 7 Matthias Trautsch Published/Updated: Recommendations: 16

In fact, the majority of the operations took place in Reul’s state of North Rhine-Westphalia: According to the report, the police counted 255 operations there. Bavaria was in second place with 54 police operations. In Rhineland-Palatinate there were only 13 operations and five in Brandenburg.

495 cases, the vast majority, involved violent crimes. The police counted a total of 1,099 suspects and 754 victims. 714 of them were injured – including 498 players, 116 spectators, 83 referees and 17 police officers. The topic is too small for the conference of interior ministers – data collection should be stopped again.

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