Polish fans displayed Nazi banner in Vienna03 October 2006

The first round UEFA cup tie between the national champions FK Austria Vienna and Legia Warszawa on 28 September in Vienna has been marred by the display of Nazi symbols.

A huge 20 meter banner saying “White Legion” featuring the Nazi emblem “Wolfsangel” was exposed in the sector of the Legia fans. The “Wolfsangel” (“Wolf’s Hook”) used to be the emblem of the NSDAP youth organisation “Deutsches Jungvolk”, who became later the Hitler Youth. In Austria and Germany its usage is forbidden by law.

In addition, a flag featuring a Celtic cross – a popular symbol of the racist “White power” movement – has also been displayed in the Legia sector.

Both symbols are forbidden in Polish football stadiums, as described in the joint brochure on racist symbols produced by the Polish Football Association (PZPN) and the FARE partner Never Again Association.

Racist insults among Austria Vienna fans
According to a report of a journalist of the Austrian football magazine Ballesterer more than a dozen Austria Wien fans in the sector C1 and C2 of the Ernst Happel Stadium engaged in continuous monkey chanting against the Zimbabwean Legia defender Dickson Choto. The racists were challenged by the majority of fans. In addition, more than than a hundred supporters joined xenophobic remarks such as “car thieves” and “Polaken”.

FARE has already reported the incidence to UEFA and called for further investigating on part of the UEFA disciplinary committee.

Historic dimension
After the German occupation of Poland 1939 the Nazi regime used the Ernst Happel stadium to imprison more than one thousand Jews before they were deported to the concentration camp Buchenwald. In 2003 the Austrian FairPlay campaign, supported the successful initiative to install a plague to commemorate the victims.

The stadium will be the venue of the UEFA EURO 2008 final match.