Germany: World Cup a signal against racism

1st June 2006, Comments 0 comments

01 June 2006, BERLIN - Germany has done everything possible to host a successful World Cup and hopes the tournament will act as a symbol against racism, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said this week. Germany wanted to show the world it was not hostile to foreigners, Schaeuble said in reference to a string of xenophobic attacks which have rocked the country recently. The minister told a news conference there would be a special anti-racism programme from the quarter-finals, with teams carrying banners

01 June 2006

BERLIN - Germany has done everything possible to host a successful World Cup and hopes the tournament will act as a symbol against racism, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said this week.

Germany wanted to show the world it was not hostile to foreigners, Schaeuble said in reference to a string of xenophobic attacks which have rocked the country recently.

The minister told a news conference there would be a special anti-racism programme from the quarter-finals, with teams carrying banners against discrimination and statements read out by their captains immediately before the kick-off.

"We have created the conditions for a successful World Cup and are looking forward to the start of the competition on June 9," Schaeuble said at the presentation of the government's World Cup progress report, which was approved this week by the cabinet.

Franz Beckenbauer, president of the World Cup organizing committee, said the motto of the tournament "A Time to Make Friends" was a big challenge for Germany.

"We needed one or the other campaign to give a boost to our friendliness," he said. "This was not necessary at the last World Cup four years ago because hosts Japan and South Korea "are naturally friendly."

Schaeuble said all possible measures had been taken to ensure the safety of the estimated three million visitors expected to come to Germany for the month-long tournament.

But he could not rule out incidents like that in Berlin last weekend when a drunken teenager ran amok after a public gathering and injured more than 30 people with a knife.

"One hundred per cent security cannot be guaranteed," said the minister, pointing out that an attack like that in Berlin had nothing to do with the World Cup.

The minister said a National Cooperation and Information Centre had been set up inside the interior ministry to oversee security during the World Cup.

Manned around the clock, it will coordinate reports from German police and intelligence agencies about suspicious activities at stadiums and public viewing areas where games can be watched on large television screens.

More than 500 liaison officers from the 32 participating nations, among them "uniformed policemen from many European countries," would also be in Germany to help local police pinpoint troublemakers, Schaeuble said.

Schaeuble praised "the close cooperation" with security authorities in Poland to deal with the relatively new threat of Polish hooligans.

Neo-Nazis and Iranian exile groups have threatened to hold rallies during the World Cup, which will see a total of 64 games in 12 cities, culminating with the final in Berlin on July 9.

DPA

Subject: German News

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