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Gerd Dembowski, Football Fan Researcher

Tackling violence in soccer stadiums. Gerd Dembowski talks about combatting hooligans in this edition of Talking Germany.

Soccer has always been a big part of Gerd's life: As a child he played soccer in the junior league, in his student days he was active in Duisburg's fan project and he has since become a leading expert on German fan culture. A former spokesperson of the German soccer fans' lobby group BAFF he is also at the forefront of the fight against racism in the game.

Do football clubs and associations have their fans under control? Do we need more stringent security concepts? Or would that, as critics fear, lead to the death of fandom? Gerd Dembowski is one of those who say it’s more dangerous to attend the Munich Oktoberfest than to go to a football stadium. Dembowski works as a writer and journalist. For the initiative Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), he developed the highly-praised exhibition Target Stadium, which has travelled to 200 venues in Germany so far. Since 2009, he has had a scholarship at the Hans Böckler Foundation and has been writing his doctor’s thesis on discrimination and anti-discrimination in British and German football. Since September 2012, Dembowski has worked at the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Hanover.

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