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May 13, 2014

DFB under fire for censoring stadium

The DFB has caused public outrage ahead of Germany's international friendly against Poland in Hamburg on Tuesday night.

St Pauli fans protest against homophobia during a game against SC Paderborn 07 last season.
St Pauli fans protest against homophobia during a game against SC Paderborn 07 last season.

Schaaf: Provisional squad
• Honigstein: Technical commitment

Germany will host Poland at Hamburg's Imtech Arena as coach Joachim Loew begins his World Cup preparation without many star players, who are still involved in European club competition.

During a training session at St Pauli's Millerntor-Stadion, the DFB covered up parts of "No football for fascists" banner on one of the stands.

St. Pauli, a left-wing club from the heart of Hamburg, have been taking a stand against racism and homophobia for many years. DFB officials covered up the "for fascists" part, so that pictures of the German national team training under a "no football" banner soon did the rounds on social media.

The DFB wants to have its games free of any political statements and, when coming under fire on Twitter, explained that the "Millerntor has been neutralised."

German football's governing body continued: "That means the stadium is free of advertisements, but also of political statements."

"The DFB shows the instinct of a bulldozer," the prestigious Fokus Fussball press review commented on Tuesday.

"I would have loved to be part of that pub crawl. Boozed your brain away, or what? Ashamed greetings from the U.S.," the former FC St. Pauli player Marius Ebbers, who now plays for Fort Lauderdale Strikers, tweeted.

The story got picked up by a number of German publications, among them the online outlets of Der Spiegel, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and kicker.

On Tuesday, DFB press officer Jens Grittner took to Twitter to insist that the DFB backed the statement "No football for fascists," but wanted to avoid pictures with the German national team players and such slogans.

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