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Dec 12, 2012

German fan measures get green light

The controversial 'Safe Stadium Experience' paper has been passed by a general meeting of all clubs in the German Football League (DFL) on Wednesday.

• Hesse: Fight for your right to party

The vote on the proposal had been awaited by German football and politics. Outside the Sheraton Congress Hotel building in Frankfurt a crowd of some 600 football fans from all over Germany gathered for the last time before the vote to voice their protest and await the verdict on the paper.

Sixteen separate clauses were put to vote and all of them have been passed by the clubs, with adjustments made to the most controversial clauses on labelling of high risk matches and the implementation full body searches. "Professional football comes out as the winner of this vote," DFL president Reinhard Rauball said.

"We have shown that we take fan interests seriously. It is not a vote against the fans but for the future. The threats [of politicians trying to enforce police costs on the clubs] need to stop now."

DFL board member Peter Peters explained: "Clause 8 [on the full body searches] was supplemented that security controls have to be appropriate and have to be conducted reasonably."

Before the vote, Hamburg's director of the board, Carl-Erich Jarchow, had filed a motion for adjournment, which was turned down with a vote of 5:31 - it is reported that similar majorities occurred during the actual vote.

Bundesliga officials were eager to play down rifts between clubs and fans. Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said it was never the intention to be divisive with the fans, and put the friction down to a failure in communication.

Borussia Dortmund chief ececutive Aki Watzke added: "There are no winners and there are no losers. Most of us should be able to arrange with this compromise. Only the ones who are only in it for violence and flares will not be happy about it."

However, fans have already voiced their dissatisfaction with the decision via social networks and by communicating as much to the press.

Philipp Markhardt, speaking for supporter organisation Pro Fans, said: "The result is not nice. I'd like to think there will be new protests. This was already discussed by fans in Frankfurt. New boycotts or other actions could go until March. Even the boycott of a complete match day could be an option."

Union Berlin president Dirk Zingler said he saw no reason to bend to political pressure. "Union Berlin does not stand for this," he said. His club was one of the clubs to reject the proposals. Hannover president Martin Kind explained the vote was a decision of reason and added that lately the discussions had been "overheated".

Northrhine-Westphalia interior minister Ralf Jager, who alongside Lower-Saxony interior minister Uwe Schunemann had initiated the proposals, said: "That the DFL and clubs have passed the paper is a step in the right direction. Now those measures need to be implemented. Clubs and associations need to continue to improve safety around the football matches."

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