The News of the World The violence in Lens involving German football fans
Wednesday 24 June 1998
Hooligans cannot be rehabilitated because they will never learn. That's nothing new. Hooligans are neither typically German nor British. They are incorrigible. It is remarkable how few Europe-wide steps were taken to prevent this; it almost seems as if there were no European Union.
L'Est Republicain, France
We should recognise once and for all that this detestable behaviour has become indissociable from that leather ball. Those who despise the sport can only conclude that it acts as a battleground for the faithless, lawless brutes who respect nothing, not even the lives of others.
Bild Zeitung, Germany
A French policeman lies in a coma, beaten up in the most brutal manner by German rioters. I am ashamed of these inexcusable outrages. It makes me furious how some violent criminals drag the image of Germans abroad through the mud. This cancer of the modern football world must be removed.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The violence committed by German rowdies is a reminder that this kind of modern vandalism is not confined to England. Chancellor Kohl was right to speak of a "disgrace to our country". Nevertheless, grand statements only underline how helpless we feel towards this.
Le Monde, France
This time it's different, much worse - a blood stain now defiles this World Cup. A policeman has been left for dead, showered with blows from iron bars wielded by a commando of German hooligans. Whether English or German, football doesn't excite them; it merely shelters them with guilty complacency.
The Hitler salute, often divorced from its political connotations, is guaranteed to provoke riots quickly, and is being used for that effect. German hooligans have laid claim to a means of provocation available only to Germans - and immediately understandable everywhere. Intelligence experts say they have no indication of neo-Nazi infiltration of the hooligan scene...but it is time to stop assuming that concerted far-right violence represents no political danger.
The World Cup will overcome. Hundreds of thousands of people will still be impassioned by football and their cheers will echo around the stadiums while the forces of law and order stand at the ready.
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