Germany’s annual ‘anti-racist’ soccer tournament had to be abandoned this year after violence broke out during the final, with players from the two refugee teams starting a massive brawl on the pitch.
Fighting between the two teams of immigrants, one of which local media reports was overwhelmingly Arab and the other predominantly African, resulted in the United Colours Antifa Street Soccer Cup in Zwickau having to be called off.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing violence erupt suddenly during the match after an argument between players from the ‘Red Tree’ team — the organisers behind which say they “fight Nazis” while seeking to make Zwickau “cosmopolitan, tolerant and courageous” — and from “Antifa soccer club” Marienthal United 08’s refugee squad.
As violence began to escalate on the market square where the game was staged, observers “rushed as fast as they could” to get away from the brawling players, a “horrified” eyewitness told left-wing Swiss tabloid Blick, which before the match featured an article promising that “fair play, fun, creativity, tolerance and solidarity” were sure to be on show at the event.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 17, 2016
But the future of the tournament, now in its seventh year — which organisers say is a “major event” that shows Zwickau is “no place” for “racism and every type of discrimination” — is not up for debate, according to cup co-director René Hahn, who told journalists the incident is being dealt with.
Stating there were no serious injuries but that the behaviour seen on Saturday was unacceptable, he reported having had talks with players from the two teams in the final.
“With refugees who fled conflict areas, it is just that we are dealing with a very different temperament,” Hahn said, before stressing that violence on the pitch is not allowed — a rule which he said will be impressed upon players in upcoming discussions.
Zwickau native Bernhard Riedel, 68, who now lives in the Neukölln district of Berlin, one of the German capital’s most heavily migrant-populated suburbs, witnessed the brawl while visiting his hometown at the weekend.
Two Teen Asylum Seekers Stabbed in Latest Inter-Ethnic Brawl https://t.co/04dJpWDKnH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 10, 2018
“Living in Neukölln I’m used to seeing clashes break out on a daily basis, but I’ve never in my life seen anything like [what I saw] on Zwickau’s main market square Saturday,” he said, telling local media the violence was so brutal he had “feared for the players’ lives”.
Breitbart London has previously reported how Neukölln has seen increasing intolerance towards people who do not follow the Islamic faith in recent years including assaults on Christians, while teachers note that bullying along religious lines has become a problem in the district’s schools.
In 2016, Lebanese-born filmmaker Imad Karim — who had moved to Germany as a 19-year-old student around 40 years ago — lamented that the Neukölln of which he had such fond memories had transformed into a place which more resembles the Afghan capital of Kabul.