The world’s most anticipated sports tournament of the year-the 2006 FIFA World Cup-will take place this summer in Germany. Despite all the excitement, soccer officials worry about security and suppressing racial tensions.
In Germany, terrorists and a group called "Hooligans" are two main concerns. Hooligans have been classified since the 1970s as violent, destructive soccer fans that have even been linked to hate crimes. These hooligans have been known to do such things as yell racial slurs at Black athletes during matches.
Hip-hop magazine The Source said, “Groups of hate-mongering soccer fans have been known to go so far as to throw bananas at Black players during games.” Many of these racial disturbances can be traced back to the increase of immigration from Africa and the Middle East and tensions caused by unemployment and struggling European economies, according to the magazine.
Another group of racist fans, neo-Nazi hooligans, is also on the radar of German officials. The Der Tagesspiegel, a German newspaper said that the neo-Nazis are planning five demonstrations for the upcoming events. However, these far-right extremists will be in violation of current laws that prohibit the display of the swastika and the Hitler salute in Germany.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Sify.com, an international news and entertainment site, "We will combat far-right trends with all available means before, during and after the World Cup.”
The German government decided to filter its borders in order to prevent hooligans and other unruly fans out as much as possible. Sify reported that said Berlin would suspend the European Union’s Schengen travel agreement that allows fifteen other European nations to travel freely without checks across borders. "They (checks) will be introduced as required by the situation and this will enable us to use this threat filter in an effective manner."
According to German officials over a million foreign fans will attend the scheduled sixty-four matches. The main arena for the events will take place in Frankfurt, Germany this coming June along with twelve other German host cities.