Far-Right Fears: German-Israeli Football Match Cancelled

Photo Gallery: The Cottbus Inferno Photos
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Austrian police cancelled a weekend match between German football club Energie Cottbus and Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv because of security fears. A banned group of far-right Cottbus fans was heading to the game.

Police in Austria cancelled a planned football match between Germany's Energie Cottbus and Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv because a bus-load of far-right supporters of the German club was travelling to the match, reports said.

Police in the Alpine town of Angerberg in the Tyrol region of Austria took the decision last Saturday for security reasons after receiving a tip-off that some 40 fans, including members of Inferno, a fan club Cottbus banned last month for showing "anti-Semitism signs," planned to attend the match.

Earlier this year the Brandenburg regional intelligence agency had accused Cottbus of being to passive in dealing with far-right fans. In June, the club took action, banning Inferno from home and away matches and declaring in a statement: "FC Energie won't hesitate to protect its reputation and its values with all means at its disposal."

Inferno is regarded as one of the few openly far-right groups in Germany's hard core "ultra" scene of football fans. At an away match against Hamburg club St. Pauli in 2012, they held up letters forming the Nazi greeting "Sieg Heil."

Growing Concern

According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the club decided to ban the group after an incident at a recent match against Dynamo Dresden. "Juden DD" was written in adhesive tape on a plexiglass screen in the stadium. "Juden" is German for "Jews."

The Cottbus team was in Angerberg for pre-season training. After the match was cancelled, Cottbus played Czech first division team Pribram instead. An Inferno banner was unfurled during the match, reports said. Cottbus won 1-0.

There is growing concern in Germany about far-right supporters disrupting matches with racist chants and banners and infiltrating fan groups.

Last year the Interior Ministry of the eastern state of Saxony, Markus Ulbig, said the security service was monitoring fan groups of two clubs, Chemnitzer FC and Lok Leipzig. Right-wing extremists are also gaining a foothold in more prominent clubs such as first-division Borussia Dortmund.

cro -- with wire reports

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1. Not up to date
galbraith-leser 07/09/2013
In the 1980's Borussia Dortmund was an average Football Club with the notorious Borussenfront as a right-wing fan group. Today the quite successful Club has a zero-tolerance-policy against any sort of right-wing supporters. Its more than disrespectful to claim that right-wing extremists are gaining a foothold in Dortmund without any serious argument, that backs this kind of statement.
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