Jewish team given replay after Nazi chants at Berlin game
Players abandoned game in face of chants of "Gas the Jews" and "Auschwitz is Back."
By DAVID BYERS
A Jewish soccer team from Berlin whose players abandoned a game after facing chants of "Gas the Jews" and "Auschwitz is Back" have been told to replay the match at a neutral venue.
A Berlin sports court on Monday confirmed an earlier decision by the city's football association for a district league match between TuS Makkabi and VSG Altglienicke to be replayed at a venue still to be arranged.
The initial match, which was played on September 26 at Altglienicke's ground in east Berlin, was abandoned when Makkabi players left the field in the 78th minute following a torrent of anti-Semitic chants from the crowd.
The district league is five levels below the Bundesliga.
Both Altglienicke and referee Klaus Bruening were sanctioned by the Berliner Fussball-Verband, with Altglienicke players and coaches ordered to take part in seminars against racism. Altglienicke was instructed to play its next two matches without any fans present, replay the game with Makkabi at a neutral venue, and provide five ushers to monitor fan behavior through the end of the 2007-08 season.
Bruening was banned for life; the court said he had failed in his duty to stop the game once the chants became prominent. Bruening is appealing the decision, saying he didn't hear the abusive chants.
Berliner Fussball-Verband spokesman Frank Schl ter said Bruening failed to ensure that the match was played under safe conditions.
"Regardless of whether the claims were true, the referee has a responsibility to investigate," Schlueter said.
Fan racism is a problem at all levels of German soccer. The sport's governing body, the German Soccer Association (DFB), has handed out record punishments this season, including fining first division Aachen and M nchengladbach 50,000 euros and 19,000 euros ($62,500 and $24,000), respectively, for racist fan abuse when those two teams met.
Second division eastern German club Hansa Rostock had to cough up 20,000 euros after supporters shouted racist abuse at Ghana-born German national Gerald Asamoah during a German Cup match with Rostock's amateur team in September.
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