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Hooliganism

Police stats show last year was rough in Bundesliga

An annual report that tracks crime statistics relating to police deployments at sporting events showed that the 2011-12 Bundesliga season was particularly rough in terms of arrests and injuries.

Police stand in front of fans waving flares

Bengalisches Feuer in den Fanblöcken

The report, issued by the German police's sporting-event-deployment information center, indicated numbers relating to fan violence that were well above average when compared to the center's reports over the last 12 years.

The center reported that criminal proceedings, sport-related working hours for police and the number of people injured in football-related violence were 70, 40, and 120 percent above the 12-year average in the respective categories.

The report covered games of the Bundesliga and the second division, as well as German Cup matches, UEFA matches and national team games. All told, 8,143 criminal proceedings were started, 1,142 injuries were reported (excluding accidents), and 1.8 million hours of police work were recorded due to football related activity.

The report covered 757 total football games, including 306 each from the Bundesliga and the second division. By examining corresponding police reports from the games, the report was able to draw its conclusions.

One trend noted was the continuing tendency of fans to participate in organized groups of ultra-fans. These groups are, according to the report, known for lighting fireworks in stadiums, disguising or hiding their faces to avoid detection by the police, and by banding together to increase their numbers and discourage police involvement to break up potentially dangerous or threatening activity.

Police estimates place the number of fans that either have opportunistic tendencies toward violence or who actively seek out violence at 11,373 - an increase of 17.5 percent compared to last year. This works out to an average of 316 potentially violent fans per Bundesliga or second Bundesliga team. Each league has 18 teams.

The German Football League, which runs the first and second divisions, issued a statement in response to the police report saying that the numbers "should neither be dramatized nor underestimated."

"We need a fact-based discussion," the statement from the league read, "To this end it is all the more important, that all the parties involved recognize their responsibility and act accordingly. That involves the league and the teams as well as the politicians and police, and of course, the fans."

The statement said that the police report would be addressed at a league meeting scheduled for December 12.