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14 Sep, 2022 08:43

German football fans accused of Nazi salutes (VIDEO)

Eintracht Frankfurt supporters made headlines while on the road at Marseille
German football fans accused of Nazi salutes (VIDEO)

German football club Eintracht Frankfurt were forced to react after a pair of fans were caught on camera appearing to give Nazi salutes ahead of a UEFA Champions League match against Marseille on Tuesday.

The reigning Europa League champions notched their first win in Group D by beating their Ligue 1 rivals 1-0 after a humbling 3-0 home loss to Sporting Lisbon last time out.

Yet violent scenes before kick-off and late on in the game again made headlines for the wrong reasons following Europa Conference League clashes between Koln and Nice fans last week in southwestern France.

Given a pocket of Marseille fans had caused trouble in London in their Champions League debut this season by ripping down a Pride flag, clashing with police, and trying to get into the home end to attack Tottenham Hotspur supporters, the match was considered high-risk and prompted a large-scale security operation.

The atmosphere was expectedly hostile at their Stade Velodrome too, with riot police forced to intervene before kick-off and later on in the action as rival fans threw flares and fireworks at one another.

This was caught on camera, and so too were a pair of Frankfurt fans apparently giving Nazi salutes – which the club from the German finance capital immediately distanced themselves from. 

"Eintracht Frankfurt is committed to tolerance and diversity and has made its position very clear in the fight against racism, antisemitism and discrimination," ran a statement from the Bundesliga outfit reacting to the footage.

"The club dissociates itself completely and utterly from the one isolated incident," it added, where it said "a gesture resembling a Nazi salute was made."

"Antisemitic ideas are totally opposed to the club's categoric and immutable values and its roots," Frankfurt continued, detailing that the person "who can be seen on the video and who has yet to be identified" reported themselves to fan representatives in the stadium and "emphatically denies the accusation of antisemitic motives."

The club vowed to conduct a detailed investigation, and even if the men are found innocent, they will not find sympathy from fellow members of the Frankfurt faithful with one fan group saying it was "ashamed of people who come from Frankfurt, carry the eagle on their chest and give the Nazi salute."

"You don't belong to this club, you don't belong to this city, you don't belong to us," they stressed.

As the statement suggested, such views also clash with those of the club, which is among the most prominent anti-far-right Bundesliga teams thanks to its president Peter Fischer. 

In December 2017, he boldly stated that no one that voted for far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which he described as one that "has clear inhumane and racist tendencies," "can become a member at our club."

As a consequence of this stance, those that re-voted Fischer into power a month later in January 2018 on the basis of it will expect a strong reaction from the leader in power since 2000. 

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