Germany news

Fan movement focuses on safety

November 1, 2012
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Ahead of a fan meeting in Berlin on Thursday, Borussia Dortmund fanzine has launched a nationwide campaign which claims that football fans still feel safe in Germany despite recent reports to the contrary.

Borussia Dortmund
PA PhotosBorussia Dortmund fans in celebratory mood in the stands

With backing from German politicians, the German Football League (DFL) has been working on a new security concept called the "Safe Stadium Experience" in which governing bodies put forward a range of proposals to "ensure that the stadium experience remains a safe one".

Proposals include new safety checks including: full body searches, no more tickets for fan groups not willing to sign up to the campaign and privileges for fan groups being withdrawn.

Numerous Bundesliga and Bundesliga II clubs have already spoken out against the paper, with Union Berlin making the strongest statement, claiming: "DFL may believe they can think and act in long-term economic terms, and therefore short-sightedly, with regard to their social policy, but in doing so they are shirking their enormous social responsibility that is incumbent upon them as administrators and marketers, but not owners, of such a huge part of our culture, the game of football."

On Thursday, fan liaison officers and supporters are meeting up in Berlin to discuss the safety concept and, after violent clashes in the Ruhr derby between Schalke and Dortmund, launched their "I feel safe" campaign.

"We want to give the fans a voice," Malte Schwietering, a campaign spokesperson told ESPN. "Governing bodies have been discussing about the fans, but not with the fans. We want to show that the vast majority of football fans actually feel safe attending a football match."

The campaign also released a press statement which read: "Allegedly, violence and anarchy have taken over football, attending a game is a dangerous adventure. Allegedly, our beloved sport has been hit by unprecedented riots. Is that true? Why do football fans and stadium goers don't witness most of it? In reality, attending a game is no more dangerous than five, ten or thirty years ago - the opposite is true."