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German FA apologises for hooligans
Updated: 2005-03-28 16:51

The German football association (DFB) has apologised to Slovenia after German fans smashed windows and tables at a hotel and restaurant before an international friendly on Saturday.

German officials said 50 Germans were detained by Slovenian police and three people, including two police officers, were injured in clashes in the centre of Celje at around 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), three hours before the match between Germany and Slovenia.

The international friendly, which Germany won 1-0, was interrupted on several occasions when flares were thrown from the Germany supporters' section on to the pitch.

'We're ashamed of what has happened,' said Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann. 'This has nothing to do with soccer and doesn't fit at all the German image for the 2006 World Cup, where we will be playing host to the whole world.

'The troublemakers must be punished severely and we've got to get a grip on this quickly,' he added.

German officials said 38 Germans were detained in downtown Celje before the match and another 12 were held by authorities in the stadium.

Some Germans were seen on television tearing apart plastic seats and throwing them at police and towards the pitch. The images recalled scenes from the 1998 World Cup in France where German hooligans severely beat a French policeman.

'We can only offer our utmost apology to our Slovenian hosts for what's happened,' said Harald Stenger, DFB media director.


Alfred Sengle, head of the DFB security, described the behaviour of the German fans as disgraceful.

'I'm ashamed,' he said. 'We can only apologise, to the Slovenian football association.'

Stenger added German and Slovenian authorities had received advance warning of about 200 to 250 'problem cases' of German fans who were in Slovenia for the match.

'Unfortunately we weren't able to keep everything under control,' he said.

German officials said considerable damage was done to the Hotel Europa in the centre of Celje. Cars were also damaged and several shop windows in the centre of the city were destroyed.

'I don't know what sort of human being would deliberately risk injuring other people,' said Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, when asked about the flares thrown on to the pitch. 'I don't know what goes on in the minds of people like that.'

Franz Beckenbauer, head of Germany's 2006 organising committee, said he was shocked by the images of destruction.

'It's clear that the coordination between the German and Slovenian security forces didn't function the way it should,' Beckenbauer told German television.

'That shouldn't happen. All the German hooligans were known entities, but the situation was simply was under-estimated, and I believe from the Slovenian side.'

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