Recent media and institutional reports on the disturbances at the Slovakia versus Germany match on 3.9.2005 have concentrated largely on the violence committed by German hooligans and the exaggerated response of the Slovak police. Yet none of this can excuse the racist and discriminatory conduct witnessed in Bratislava.
If we consider the racist and far-right abuse and behaviour among some 400 German fans and hooligans at the Slovan Stadium in Bratislava, it is reminiscent of the blatantly racist incidents at the internationals between Holland and Germany (Rotterdam, 1996), Poland and Germany (Zabrze, 1996) and Yugoslavia and Germany (Lens, 1998). Racist chanting by travelling German fans was also heard earlier this year when Germany played Slovenia in Celje.
On 5.9.2005 the German newspaper Tagesspiegel wrote: “Many came from Leipzig, Halle and Dresden and drew attention to themselves during the match with their Nazi remarks”. The article also refers to “racist abuse aimed at their own player, Patrick Owomoyela”.
Almost 66 years to the day after Germany invaded Poland, German fans sang Nazi-related songs before, during and after the match.
In a bar near the ground fans gave a rendition of the now-unsung first verse of the German national anthem (Deutschland, Deutschland über alles“) before the game, and far-right chanting was not uncommon. These incidents were confirmed by witnesses known to the FARE network and by a fan on the website www.network-ultra.de, for example, who also included a song about Gerald Asamoah, the first black player to play for Germany, in his list of abusive chants.
So many ordinary fans joined in the chanting that it could be heard loud and clear on TV (e.g. in the 44th minute).
Also in evidence was the new right-wing dress code: a lot of fans sported T-shirts from the company Thor Steinar, whose rune logo was banned recently. A group of about 15 to 20 people also wore a T-shirt with the slogan “We can do anything – except speak Turkish. Young Nationalists”.
Owomoyela abused by Slovak fans
As confirmed by FARE's Slovak partner organisation Ludia Proti Rasizmu, there was also racist chanting by a number of Slovakia supporters. Patrick Owomoyela played on the right-hand side in the first half, often close to the Slovakia fans. Their monkey chants against Owomoyela in the 32nd, 36th and 43rd minutes were also so loud that they could be heard on TV.
FARE therefore calls upon the German Football Association, the Slovak Football Association and FIFA to comment on these incidents and – especially in view of the 2006 World Cup in Germany – to respond by stepping up their anti-racism efforts.