German football officials agree on code of conduct | News | DW | 17.07.2012
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German football officials agree on code of conduct

Representatives from the German Football Association, professional clubs and Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich have agreed to a code of conduct aimed at protecting fan culture.

Tuesday's DFB meeting in Berlin was not the first of its kind, but a few important agreements were reached that will affect fans in the coming season.

The code of conduct states that no pyrotechnics of any kind will be tolerated in stadiums as it threatens the well-being of spectators and the game. The maximum length of stadium bans for fans found to be disruptive or violent has also been increased from three years to ten years.

In the last season, the DFB saw a number of incidents of fan violence and pyrotechnics being lit during matches. Clubs have typically borne the brunt of the sanctions and fines that have followed. The code of conduct gives them the ability to issue sanctions or consequences against individuals who perpetuate violence or contribute to dangerous situations in games.

"Anyone who supports football is against violence," DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach said. "The collaboration of the clubs is an important step, and these clear measures are, for me, a much-needed sign that they are willing to take more responsibility and stand up for more safety."

Fans not included

Fifty-three professional clubs from the first, second and third German leagues were represented at the meeting. Union Berlin - a team from the second league - was the only club that declined to appear. A statement on Union Berlin's website said that the code of conduct was first presented 20 hours before the safety summit got underway, which was not enough time for the club to give it proper consideration.

Representatives from fan associations were not invited to the summit but showed up nearby anyway to let their voices be heard.

"I wonder why we even do this work for fan interests when we aren't even present on decisive days like this," the German news agency dpa quoted Jakob Falk from the group Pro Fans as saying.

Thomas Beckmann, from a national umbrella organization of fan working groups, said "things were decided just to calm the public opinion."

The groups did react positively to an agreement at the summit that stated that financial support for fan projects in stadiums will be increased by 50 percent.

A suggestion floated by politicians to ban standing sections in stadiums was turned down.

Author: Matt Zuvela
Editor: Milan Gagnon