A football club in Germany that prides itself on recruiting players with a migration background has terminated the membership of three players and been ordered to play its next three games without spectators after players and fans of the club rioted during a league match on Sunday and physically assaulted the referee and opposition players.
Kine em Halle e.V. describes itself as “the slightly different football club” and boasts a playing staff that comprises 90 percent Kurdish Syrians.
The club, whose emblem encompasses the Kurdish flag, was brought into disrepute following a league match between Reideburger SV on Sunday.
Its players were reportedly incensed by the referee’s decision to award a penalty to the opposition, leading to a fracas on the football pitch that soon turned violent. Players and supporters of Kine em Halle e.V., who were hosting the match, attacked the referee, opponents, and spectators according to reports by the public broadcaster MDR.
Four police vehicles were dispatched to the scene following the incident.
The referee and a Reideburg player sustained injuries in the attack, and two men are currently being investigated by the authorities, while police also have other players and fans who they suspect to have been involved in the attack, according to police spokesman Michael Ripke.
Wieder müssen wir uns mit einem Fall von tätlicher Gewalt gegen den Schiedsrichter kümmern. Ein Schiedsrichter in Halle-Ammendorf wurde von Kine em Halle-Spielern bedrängt. Daraufhin brach der Schiedsrichter das Spiel gegen den Reideburger SV ab. Auf dem Weg in die Kabine wurden… pic.twitter.com/fuSv4pBBRs— IG Schiedsrichter (@IgSchiri) October 2, 2023
It isn’t the first time that a match between the two sides has descended into chaos, with the same game being abandoned last season.
“Nobody wants to see these terrible images, and Kine em Halle e.V. would like to clearly express its regret about the incidents and apologize for them,” the club wrote in a statement following the incident.
The club also asked that it “not be prejudiced and we emphasize once again that Kine em Halle e.V. distances itself from any form of violence.”
The referee in charge is Fabian Stegner, the son of an SPD member of the Bundestag, Ralf Stegner.
“I would have liked to have forgone yesterday’s experiences, but I will continue to work as a referee,” Stegner told MDR.
A mission statement on the club’s website states that it “aims to address the new challenges arising from demographic change and social change” and seeks to teach young people to play football with “respect and tolerance.”
The city football association responded to the riot by canceling the Kurdish club’s games for the coming weekend for all ages while it conducts its own investigation into the incident.