Chemnitzer FC sporting director Thomas Sobotzik resigns amidst insults and threats

Chemnitzer FC were once a great club. The likes of Michael Ballack and Rico Steinmann took their first steps as footballers at CFC. However, over the past year the club have had an increasing problem with elements of their fans.

Right-wing supporters have caused negative headlines all over Germany and internationally due to their behavior at games and elsewhere.

Heads started rolling after a neo-nazi hooligan was given a minute’s silence and a memorial ahead of the Regionalliga match against Altglienicke. Head of the board Thomas Uhlig and the announcer at the stadium were among the people who subsequently had to leave their jobs.

Striker Daniel Frahn was then caught hanging out with right-wing fans during an away match at Hallescher FC. The same player had also held up a t-shirt bearing a right-wing slogan after scoring against Altglienicke.

Add to that Chemnitzer FC’s fans involvement during right-wing marches that ended up with attacks on a Jewish restaurant, and you can see why the club’s supporters have a certain reputation all around Germany.

Looking for leadership

Sporting director Thomas Sobotzik had tried his best to create a team that can be competitive in the 3. Liga. Under his stewardship, the club was promoted to the third tier after spending a year in the Regionalliga Nordost.

Insolvency administrator Klaus Siemon has only had praise for Sobotzik when it comes to the work the sporting director has done at the club.

However, given that the fans have left CFC without official leadership when the elections for a new supervisory board didn’t go in Siemon’s favor, the situation is looking more and more dire for the club.

And today Sobotzik announced in a press release that he’s had enough.

“I was confronted with sheer hatred!”

In his press release, Sobotzik stated:

“The amount of hostilities, insults and threats I had encountered in the recent past have crossed the line of being manageable.”

The departing sporting director stated that he’d wanted to bring Chemnitzer FC back to a stable existence as a third-tier club. Promotion to the third tier and qualification for the DFB Pokal were among the things that had helped CFC back into that sphere, according to the 44-year-old.

However, the former Eintracht Frankfurt player stated that his work wasn’t appreciated by certain sections of the supporters:

“I encountered sheer hatred from the fans and some people stemming from the right wing, who willingly hurt the club with their racist and anti-semitic chants, portraying the acting officials in a bad light.

“Their actions have undermined the basis upon which we tried to establish a responsible and successful working environment.”

Several threats

Sobotzik stated that he’d been threatened by fans on several occasions. During the last Regionalliga match against Meuselwitz, for example, Sobotzik was pelted with beer glasses and showered with insults when he tried to stop a pitch invasion.

Another incident followed when the 44-year-old left the stadium after the cup tie against HSV. A right-wing fan had been hanging around outside the club’s offices and told Sobotzik, “I’ve waited a long time for you. Get lost, you filthy Yugoslavian.”

In the end, the sporting director decided that enough was enough. Sobotzik wrote in his press release:

“I didn’t want to continue to encounter the increasing amount of threats.”

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-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.

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