September 23, 2017

12:12 – Fans around the Bundesliga voice their discontent

The fans directed their anger at the media, the politicians, the DFB, the DFL and club officials during their protest this weekend.

Dortmund around noon this Saturday. The temperatures have dropped below zero, and the cold wind coming from the east is making it unbearable to stand still. Even so, 2,500 fans have made their way to the Platz der alten Synagoge to protest the DFL’s new initiative, Sicheres Stadionerlebnis (Secure stadium experience). The demonstration started at 1100 CET, but the participants don’t seem to care about the Scandinavian like temperatures.

Signs and banners all around the square display the fans resolve, stating that they don’t want any part of the new regulations. German fan culture might be changed to the worse after these regulations are passed according to the protesters. Some even fear that watching a game of football might be similar to the way Italian or English fans have to experience the beautiful these days. Quite frankly, some of the fans feel like they are getting screwed hard and more often than a bus load of hookers by these new regulations and guidelines, provided they are passed today.

Most of the regulations are aimed at preventing fans from using flares and other pyro technical effects at the matches. Fan clubs which use flags and banners to shield their members from the eyes of the cameras could in the future be denied tickets according to the new guidelines. The security checks at the entrance of a game could in the future become more invasive, should the proposal pass.

Rauball: Necassary step to take

The chairman of the DFL and president of Borussia Dortmund Rainhard Rauball told the German press that passing these new regulations is very important for the future of German football.

As things stand, the question is: Should politicians make the rules, or should we make our own rules and run the ship ourselves? A lot is at stake here!

The German ministers of the interior on the state and federal level have been pressuring the clubs in the Bundesliga to take steps, in order to eliminate unreasonable and unwanted fan behavior.

Several German clubs have already stated that they are against the new regulations, stating that the fans should have their say before anything gets passed by the DFL. However, a vast majority of the clubs are going to vote in favor of the new rules and guidelines according to kicker’s information.

Fans: A danger to German football culture

Most football fans in Germany are frustrated by the new measures, provided that Saturday’s protest in Dortmund gave an accurate picture of the situation. The spokesperson of the protest, and editor of schwarzgelb.de, Heiko Scholz pointed out at the demonstration that the amount of increased injuries to spectators at Bundesliga should be seen in correlation with the amount of increased spectatorship.

Scholz went even further stating:

A Bundesliga game is one of the safest events anybody could visit here in Germany. A visit to a disco or any other event is more dangerous.

Criminologist Thomas Feltes went even further, when he told Westfälischen Rundschau:

The likelihood of being involved in an accident is far greater if one chooses to travel with one’s own car to the match, than at the actual match itself.

Pyro technic: A parting of the ways

The use of pyro technic at the games remains the biggest point of contention between the two sides. Whilst the fans feel harshly done by, after they chose to approach the DFB and the DFL with a number of proposals at the beginning of 2011, the DFL and the authorities seem to think that pyro technic shouldn’t be allowed at Bundesliga matches no matter what. The frustration of the fans is easy to understand, given that the DFB invited them to talks, and even started to negotiate with them about the use of flares less than two years ago.

Helmut Spahn, the former commissary of security of the DFB, negotiated with the fans, and stated in 11 Freunde 6 weeks ago that the concepts that the fans had drawn up were ”reasonable” and ”well thought out”. Furthermore, Spahn stated that the problem of illegal use of flares isn’t going to disappear if the clubs used more security and installed harsher penalties.

The DFB chose to get out of the talks, and take a stance against flares in the end. The fans disappointment and rage has been on display ever since.

Here are some of the pictures we took during the 12:12 demonstration.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.

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