German football must 'do more' to combat racism

10th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 April 2006, BAD BOLL - German football federation co-leader Theo Zwanziger dismissed Saturday criticism that the DFB started too late looking into its history during Adolf Hitler's Nazi reign. Zwanziger said at a congress on its role during the period 1933- 1945 that football couldn't simply ignore those years. "It doesn't matter if it happens sooner or later. It is about the truth," Zwanziger said. Zwanziger said that a recent book ("Football under the Swastika" by historian Nils Havemann) showed "how

10 April 2006

BAD BOLL - German football federation co-leader Theo Zwanziger dismissed Saturday criticism that the DFB started too late looking into its history during Adolf Hitler's Nazi reign.

Zwanziger said at a congress on its role during the period 1933- 1945 that football couldn't simply ignore those years.

"It doesn't matter if it happens sooner or later. It is about the truth," Zwanziger said.

Zwanziger said that a recent book ("Football under the Swastika" by historian Nils Havemann) showed "how high the temptation of a dictatorship is. We must explain this and pass it on."

Interior minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that sport in general and football in particular had taken decades to deal with the issue, but that this in fact applied to the entire country.

"Sport failed in the same way as the rest of our people. But it is good that the DFB is dealing with its history. The process must continue," said Schaeuble.

The minister said that nowadays sport and football were on the forefront to practise integration and oppose racism, but that recent racist incidents in German football showed that "it is important that we do even more".

Zwanziger agreed, looking at racist chants against a fourth division player who answered with a Hitler salute and a campaign by the National Democratic Party against black Germany players for the World Cup.

"We must take action. Every game with a racist incident is a game too many," Zwanziger said.

The book and study by Havemann was ordered by the DFB in 2001 and published in 2005 after criticism on the world's largest single sports federation with more than 6 million members at its centenary in 2000 that it was not dealing properly with the Nazi past.

Another German author, Juergen Leinemann from news magazine Der Spiegel, said that the DFB started "quite late" with the look into its role during the Nazi reign.

"No one dealt with football and National Socialism before (2001). That is understandable but also regrettable," said Leinemann.

While football has enough funds to organise such a study, that doesn't apply to other sports, said Manfred von Richthofen, the head of Germany's umbrella sports organisation DSB.

"We must consider whether we shouldn't take joint action on the issue. We must look into this period because of our young generation," said von Richthofen.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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