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German FA president demands change after RB Leipzig attacks

A huge number of Borussia Dortmund fans held up banners condemning RB Leipzig during the match.

German FA (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel has said the attacks on RB Leipzig supporters before their game at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday must be the trigger to change the culture of violence within the German game.

Ten Leipzig supporters and four police officers were injured when a group of Dortmund fans attacked them with eggs, stones, bottles and fireworks outside the Westfalenstadion, with one of the visiting fans telling ESPN FC on Monday: "They even had a go at children."

A vast number of Dortmund fans, who had announced their plans to protest against the Red Bull-founded club ahead of the match, also displayed defamatory banners against Leipzig during the game.

Grindel said in a statement on the DFB website: "In light of the violent attacks and the massive threat for families and children outside of the stadium as well as the inhuman banners on the stands, we are not allowed to just go back to our everyday business after the first wave of outrage.

"It's important now to have a fundamental debate resulting in a joint stance against any form of physical or psychological violence. We need an uprising of the civilised on the stands, and a dissociation with violence. And we need public prosecutors to prosecute the perpetrators and ensure that they are given sentences quickly and commensurate to their actions."

The DFB president joined a growing list of politicians and officials calling for drastic measures against those involved in the incidents.

German Home Secretary Thomas de Maiziere had earlier told Bild that people "who throw stones and crates of beer at police, and do not even take into account families or children, do not belong in the stadium but under lock and key."

North Rhine-Westphalian Home Secretary Ralf Jager called the incidents a "disgrace to football," while Rainer Wendt, the federal chairman of the German Police Union (DPolG), said: "The criminals have to face several years of imprisonment."

The Leipzig supporter who spoke to ESPN FC said the group walking toward the away end of Dortmund's stadium felt "unprotected," but Dortmund police told ESPN FC that they did not have a legal basis to increase the number of officers available for the fans arrival.

Dortmund police and BVB tried to protect RB Leipzig's team bus, which was sent into the stadium via a different route, and a police spokesperson told ESPN FC "that it was not to be expected that the detour could lead to such an outburst of violence against people."

Hannover-based fan lawyer Dr. Andreas Huttl, though, told ESPN FC that "police also need to protect fans from attacks from other groups," adding that he was surprised by the lack of staffing.

By late Monday, several representatives from Bundesliga clubs had condemned the violence, while the president of the North-East German Football Association, Rainer Milkoreit, was one of many to accuse Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke of having sparked the violence with statements directed against RB Leipzig.

"It's fatal if those in charge at a club make derogatory statements about Leipzig in public," Milkoreit told SID

In a video statement released by Dortmund on Monday, a visibly shaken Watzke said that the club were working under "high pressure on the solving of the not-so-nice things," adding that Dortmund believe they have identified the first perpetrators.

The DFB has also opened proceedings against Dortmund, who are currently playing under a suspended sentence for defamatory banners about Leipzig that were unveiled on the Sudtribune prior to kick-off.

In a long article published in the broadsheet Suddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, the newspaper accused one of Dortmund's fan leaders of being involved in the incidents, and said BVB ultra groups want Watzke removed from his position at the club.

The Dortmund ultra groups have yet to make a public comment on Saturday's incidents.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.


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