After a video published by sports journalist André Voigt raised awareness of racist and neo-Nazi abuse directed at German national players Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gündogan, three men, aged 30 to 40, turned themselves in to police and will potentially face charges of Volksverhetzung, roughly equivalent to “inciting the people” or sedition (Bild).
The police confirmed that they are conducting further investigations after receiving multiple further leads including information from the DFB itself.
Voigt gave a detailed account of what the men shouted at the match between the German national team and Serbia at the Volkwagen Arena in Wolfsburg. The abuse ranged from racism directed toward members of the German team to outright neo-Nazism, including “Heil Hitler!” and the statement, “We need a little Austrian again.”
Thanks to Voigt’s information, the DFB identified the purchaser of the tickets where the men were seated and passed that information on to the police.
Disgust on the team
Several members of the German national team spoke out about the incident. Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus said , “That is absolutely unacceptable. We do not stand for that. We stand for diversity, no matter what skin color someone has” (Bild)
Bayern Munich’s own Leon Goretzka described his personal reaction to Voigt’s video:
I took a look at the video; it moved and upset me. That should be combated decisively by all means.
Fremdenfeindlichkeit hat keinen Platz im Stadion und in der Gesellschaft. Ich komme aus dem Ruhrpott, wo man auf die Frage der Nationalität mit Schalke, Dortmund oder Bochum antwortet. Für uns ist Integration kein Thema, sondern Selbstverständlichkeit. @DFB_Team #NoToRacism pic.twitter.com/RMOehwMybt— leongoretzka (@leongoretzka_) March 22, 2019
Xenophobia has no place in the stadium or in society. I come from the Ruhr, where you answered the question about your nationality with “Schalke,” “Dortmund,” or “Bochum.” For us, integration is not an issue, but a self-evident fact. #NoToRacism
The DFB continues to address racism in the aftermath of the scandal caused by the acrimonious departure of Mesut Özil in the wake of Germany’s disastrous 2018 World Cup performance. Özil was also subjected to racist abuse by German fans in Russia. Bayern’s Jerome Boateng has also spoken out about racism, as has his brother, Kevin-Prince Boateng.