Hamburg avoids a political own goal

A FOOTBALL match between England and Germany, which was due to be played in April, was cancelled yesterday because the date coincided with Hitler's birthday.

The authorities in Hamburg, where the friendly game was to take place, had pressed for cancellation, fearing neo-Nazis might hijack the event. The birthday, on 20 April, is commemorated with increasing regularity by small groups of extreme right-wingers, who are always eager for publicity.

The game was due to take place on the 105th anniversary of Hitler's birth, at the Volkspark stadium in Hamburg. Werner Hackmann, the senator responsible for security matters, had 'strongly recommended' that the fixture be moved. A city spokesman talked yesterday of the danger that extreme right-wingers might wave Nazi-style flags in the stadium, in a propaganda display 'which would bring Hamburg, sport and all Germany into disrepute'.

The date had originally been agreed by the Football Association and its German equivalent, the Deutscher Fussballbund, which apparently failed to notice the significance of the date. Asked yesterday about this 'lack of instinct', the general secretary of the Fussballbund, Horst Schmidt, retorted: 'Until now, 20 April has not been a special date, for us.'

The overriding concern of the Hamburg authorities was the danger from German neo-Nazis, and possible clashes with the English visitors. Police said there was evidence that right-wing actions were planned. There were also suggestions that English neo-Nazis might be preparing to join forces with their German comrades.

Further talks are due this weekend, in an attempt to re-arrange the game. But the calendar flexibility is limited. An FA spokesman said yesterday: '20 April is now in the international fixture list. It's not easy to move these dates.' The spokesman added that the game might still be played on the same date - but at a different venue. 'That's a possibility that can't be ruled out, if you want to keep the fixture alive.' The FA said the cancellation of the Hamburg game was 'regrettable', but emphasised that the responsibility for the date rested with the Germans alone. 'In footballing terms, it's their fixture - they are the host.'

The extreme-right National List plans to hold a demonstration in the east German town of Halle today, after a disabled girl claimed last week that right-wing skinheads had slashed a swastika on her cheek. It emerged that the girl, described as psychologically disturbed, had inflicted the injury on herself. Police said the protest would probably be banned.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower