March 22nd, 2006

Sport must build bridges

“Football builds bridges between people of different skin colour, language and religion. Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism have no place in the football stadium”, said Stephan J. Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, adding his weight to the call for more international openness and tolerance at sports grounds that was issued by the German football association before today’s match between Germany and the United States.

“Rather than hatred and insults, a greater spirit of mutual respect should be sensed in the stands. Aggressive and violent behaviour, inhuman incidents and coarse verbal attacks are not only at odds with fair play in sporting contests; they have no place here at all“, continued Kramer. He urged politicians, clubs and fans to take consistent, decisive action against any islamophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitic invective in the arena.

“Not only during the World Cup, hailed as a time to make friends, are intolerance, racism and inhuman conduct taboo. Tolerance and respect for others are the very foundations of civilization.”

Berlin, 22 March 2006