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Fan violence on the rise in German stadiums: report

BERLIN Tue Oct 14, 2014
(Reuters) – Violence at soccer stadiums in Germany’s top two divisions rose sharply in the 2013/14 season compared to the previous year, a police report has shown.

While finances and spectator numbers have been on an upward trend in the top two leagues, it has been accompanied by increases in arrests, criminal proceedings as well as injuries from violence at matches.

A total of 8,989 fans were arrested or detained last season, up 31 percent from the previous season, according to a report issued by the German police unit in charge of monitoring deployment in sport.

The number of criminal proceedings launched from incidents at matches was also up by 21 percent to 7,863, while the number of injured fans and police rose to 1,281, up from 788, partly due to a different surveying method.

Based on the previous method injuries were still up by more than 12 percent.

“Compared to 2012/13, safety-threatening or violent behavior of so-called football fans has risen in total in both Bundesliga divisions,” the report said.

Equally worrying, the report said, was the increasing influence of ultra fan groups in club boards, though the report said most were peaceful and committed supporters.

However, it did note a 1.2 percent rise in the total number of estimated fans prepared for or seeking violence before, during and after games to a nationwide total of 10,542 individuals.

The figures will not please German football bosses, who have seen broadcasting rights, sponsorship and success on the pitch boom in the past several seasons.

The top Bundesliga division also has the world’s highest average attendances per game at more than 42,000 in 2013/14.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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