German federation condemns anti-Semitic incident

The German football federation has condemned an anti-Semitic
incident involving Kaiserslautern’s Israel striker Itay Shechter
and says it will not tolerate such abuse.

A small group of Kaiserslautern fans directed Hitler salutes at
Shechter during Sunday’s practice.

”We want to underline that the DFB (federation) will not
tolerate such actions and we must act decisively to nip them in the
bud,” the DFB’s designated president Wolfgang Niersbach said in a
statement Tuesday.

”Racism and anti-Semitism have no place in football. We have to
defend ourselves with all means available to football against (such
incident),” said Niersbach, who takes over Friday from Theo
Zwanziger. ”And we wish that authorities will pursue the case
decisively.”

The club, which is next to last in the Bundesliga, reported the
incident to the police. Police spokesman Wolfgang Denzer said
authorities were still evaluating the evidence.

The club’s official fan group has apologized for the incident.
The club says fewer than 10 fans were involved and belonged to a
hooligan group banned from games. Kaiserslautern has urged fans to
help police identify the perpetrators.

On Monday, the club said it ”distances itself expressly from
any form of racism, discrimination or anti-Semitism.”
Kaiserslautern spokesman Christian Grubber said the club has
received more than 1,000 emails condemning the incident.

The Israeli embassy in Berlin and also condemned the attack and
said it was ”appalled.”

Hitler salutes and other Nazi symbols are outlawed in
Germany.

The DFB has conducted a campaign to eliminate racism and other
abuse for years and such incidents are rare at top league matches,
although lower leagues remain a problem.

Kaiserslautern fans were angry after the team’s 4-0 loss at
Mainz and demanded to speak to the players during Sunday’s
practice.