Ahead of Euro 2024, German Police Caution England Fans Against Offensive Chants

Ahead of Euro 2024, German Police Caution England Fans Against Offensive Chants

With the European Championships set to commence in Germany next week, local police have issued a stern warning to England football fans.

Authorities are particularly concerned about the potential singing of the controversial ’10 German Bombers’ chant, a song referencing German casualties in World War II.

The song, set to the tune of ‘Ten Green Bottles,’ has been a recurring feature at England matches, including their recent 3-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Police Response and Warnings

Footage of England fans singing the chant during the warm-up game has heightened concerns that this behavior could be widespread during the tournament.

German police chief Peter Both has addressed these concerns directly, advising England supporters to refrain from such conduct.

“That’s what I would say to them: Don’t be a d***,” Both stated bluntly. He emphasized that while the chant is not illegal in Germany, it is deeply offensive and inappropriate.

Appeal for Decorum and Respect

Both called on the broader community of football fans to discourage the singing of the offensive chant. “I hope that all the other peaceful and law-abiding fans say to them: ‘Stop it,’” he added.

He acknowledged the long-standing sporting rivalry between England and Germany but stressed that it should remain within the bounds of sportsmanship.

“Our countries have been, and remain, allies for over seven decades,” Both pointed out, underlining the importance of mutual respect.

Crackdown on Offensive Gestures

In addition to addressing the ’10 German Bombers’ chant, German authorities have made it clear that any Nazi-related gestures, such as the Hitler salute, will result in immediate arrest.

“If we talk about showing the Hitler salute, it’s absolutely unbearable and intolerable,” Both said. “We have to tell them it’s punishable and criminal in Germany.” This zero-tolerance policy reflects Germany’s stringent laws against the display of Nazi symbols and gestures.

Penalties for Inappropriate Behavior

In preparation for the influx of football fans, British police and the Foreign Office have been briefed on local enforcement measures.

Fans found engaging in World War II-related taunts will face immediate fines, potentially up to a month’s wages. This measure aims to prevent any escalation of tensions and maintain a respectful atmosphere throughout the tournament.

Concerns Over Fan Behavior

The potential for conflict is particularly acute in cities like Frankfurt and Cologne, which were heavily bombed during the war. With 300,000 fans expected to travel to Germany for the championship, local authorities are on high alert to manage and mitigate any incidents of offensive behavior.

Travel and Security Challenges

In addition to behavioral concerns, fans traveling to the Euro 2024 tournament may also encounter logistical issues.

German Rail Unions have threatened strikes due to concerns over the rail network’s capacity to handle the influx of travelers safely.

These potential strikes could leave fans stranded between venues, adding another layer of complexity to the travel experience.

Official Advice for Traveling Fans

The UK Foreign Office has issued guidance for fans planning to travel to Germany for the tournament. A spokesperson advised, “We recommend that they check our travel advice to help them have the best possible tournament experience.”

This advice includes being aware of local laws and customs, ensuring respectful behavior, and preparing for possible travel disruptions.

Conclusion

As the Euro 2024 tournament approaches, the emphasis from German authorities and the UK Foreign Office is clear: enjoy the games, but do so with respect and decorum.

England fans are urged to remember the historical sensitivities of their hosts and to contribute positively to the spirit of international sportsmanship.

By adhering to these guidelines, fans can ensure a memorable and harmonious tournament experience for everyone involved.