Property owners were being advised not to rent rooms to English fans because they were "loud and drunk". According to The Sun, Ulrich Ropertz, spokesman for the German Tenants' Association, had told his members in Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Cologne, where England will play, that they should rule out England fans because of their "loud and drunken behaviour". The Swiss would be ideal guests, because they were "clean and neutral", and the Brazilians should be welcomed because they are "lively and exotic".
But yesterday sources in Germany said a satirical newspaper article there had been misinterpreted, perhaps in a piece of deliberate mischief-making. And Peter Murrmann, deputy mayor and World Cup co-ordinator in Nuremberg, dismissed the report as outrageous. Nuremberg, in common with many cities in Germany, has already started several initiatives to house foreign fans, including"The World on Your Sofa", which will see hundreds of families offer up their guest bedrooms to foreign football supporters. "The World Cup is about welcoming the world to Germany," Mr Murrmann said.
Less universally welcome is the huge predicted rise in demand for prostitutes. Anticipating the sex-trade boom, Dortmund and Cologne are installing drive-in "sex huts" complete with condom vending machines, alarms and emergency exits. In Berlin, a brand-new "super-brothel", which can service up to 600 customers per day, has already opened. Smaller wooden brothels are also being erected close to the city's Olympic Stadium.
But women's groups fear many of the 40,000-100,000 women expected to travel to Germany from abroad to work as World Cup prostitutes will be doing so against their will.
"Prostitution remains largely a black market and Germany needs to do a lot more against forced prostitution," said Hiltrud Breyer, a German MEP. The European Union says it does not have clear figures on how many women might be forced to work as prostitutes in Germany's 12 host cities, but admits around 100,000 women are victims of trafficking in the EU each year.
Germany insists that it will remain vigilant throughout the tournament and has already launched a "Red Card for Forced Prostitution" campaign.Reuse content