German football federation under fire over stadium bans decision

Other News Materials 13 April 2008 21:17 (UTC +04:00)
German football federation under fire over stadium bans decision

( dpa ) - German football authorities have come under fire from the country's interior ministers for a decision to relax stadium bans for violent fans.

In media interviews Sunday, Joerg Schoenbohm, head of the interior ministers' conference, said police had been presented with a "fait accompli" by the decision by the German Football Federation (DFB) to reduce the maximum length of bans from five to three years.

However DFB spokesman Harald Stenger told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Sunday that both police and politicians were fully aware of the decision taken in February.

"We don't see any reason at present to revise the decision which was taken in accordance with police and politicians," he said.

"If the politicians had given a clear veto six weeks ago, these new guidelines couldn't have taken affect."

Schoenbohm, interior minister of Brandenburg state, has called for a meeting this week with DFB president Theo Zwanziger to discuss the issue.

The interior ministers are gathering for a three-day meeting from Wednesday at Bad Saarow near Berlin.

Schoenbohm told Welt am Sonntag newspaper Sunday: "Softening the guidelines (on stadium bans) is completely the wrong signal to send to violent fans."

The DFB's decision to shorten the length of stadium bans came after a meeting with fan groups in Leipzig last summer.

However there have been renewed incident of crowd trouble since the new guidelines came into force.

On April 5, the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Nuremberg was nearly abandoned after fans fired flares and firecrackers onto the pitch.

A second-division match last week between Cologne and Borussia Moenchengladbach was interrupted shortly before the end after fireworks landed on the pitch.