German club under fire for staging tribute to extremist

German club under fire for staging tribute to extremist

Fans at the German football club Chemnitzer FC have mourned a far-right activist and thug in their stadium before a fixture.

The fourth-tier club said it was now pressing charges because banned flags were displayed. A big banner for the extremist, Tommy Haller, read: “Rest in peace, Tommy.”

A player was fined an undisclosed sum for joining in the tribute, by holding up a black T-shirt honouring Haller and other “hooligans” in the region.

After scoring, striker Daniel Frahn held up a shirt bearing the slogan, in English: “Support your local hools”, slang for hooligans.

“With this gesture, I wanted to fulfil the wish of our fans to commemorate the deceased,” said the 31-year-old former RB Leipzig striker.

Chemnitz, an eastern city, saw major extremist demonstrations in August 2018 after a fatal stabbing blamed on two male immigrants.

Chemnitzer FC CEO Thomas Uhlig has resigned, accepting responsibility for the controversial tribute before the weekend’s 4-4 draw against Berlin’s Altglienicke.

A minute’s silence was held in honour of Haller, whose picture was displayed on the stadium’s video screen.
The club said it was working with prosecutors to establish why the tribute was allowed to happen.

It added that it objected “to all forms of far-right activism and are not ready to bow to those ideologies, nor to surrender football in Chemnitz”.

Club sources alleged there had been extremist threats of “massive clashes” if the tribute had not been held.

Fans displayed a white cross on a black background, as well as the banner glorifying Haller in gothic script, recalling Nazi iconography.

Haller reportedly co-founded a group called HooNaRa, short for “Hooligans, Nazis, Racists”, in the 1990s. It was officially disbanded in 2007 but allegedly remained active informally.

In 2006, Haller told football magazine Rund about HooNaRa’s activities: “We are football people that show Germany and Europe that Saxony exists … Actually, HooNaRa doesn’t exist anymore. But on the other hand, we’ll be anywhere in half an hour.”

German MDR news said Haller ran a security firm employing stewards at the club.

He also built the Chemnitz extremist youth scene and took part in the violent anti-migrant protests last August, MDR reported.

Anti-immigrant mobs protested after the fatal stabbing of a Chemnitz man and an Iraqi and a Syrian were arrested after the death.

Frahn apologised for his goal celebration, saying he had acted “in solidarity with the relatives” of Haller, adding that the T-shirts had helped pay for his medical care.

“I didn’t know that that T-shirt was so widespread in the Nazi scene,” the player said.

In response, Chemnitzer’s main sponsor, Sparkasse Chemnitz bank, said it would end its sponsorship deal, worth around €170,000, at the end of the season.



German football club Chemnitzer FC’s far-right tribute. Picture credit: YouTube

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