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The New Arab

Shared goals: Germany's football fans show solidarity with refugees

Germans and refugees protest violence against refugees near Dresden on Saturday [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 August, 2015

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Blog: Sports fans have set aside rivalries to welcome new arrivals to the country and show that support for one's club can grow into support for one's wider community.
When Saturday comes, there are few better places to be than on a football stadium's terraces, offering vocal support to the sporting heroes of one's community.

But this weekend, football fans across Germany weren't just showing solidarity with the home team - but welcoming new arrivals to the country.

In a co-ordinated display, crowds from clubs across the Bundesliga held up signs saying "refugees welcome".



On Thursday, German football club, Borussia Dortmund invited 220 refugees to their Europa League match against Norwegian side Odds Ballklubb.

 


Over the weekend, Germany's interior ministry said it expects refugee applications to quaduple to 800,000 over the next year.

The welcoming attitude displayed by the football fans has not been shared by all in Germany; the country has witnessed more than 100 arson attacks on refugee reception centres this year.

But on Saturday, around 5,000 people marched peacefully in Dresden in a show of support for refugees.


Meanwhile, Greece - a country of entry into Europe for many refugees - has also seen its own "refugees welcome campaign". 



And German football fans were not the first to show support to refugees in stadiums. Fans of Celtic football club in Glasgow, Scotland, have regularly displayed "refugees welcome" signs during matches - since 2007.  




The club has always drawn much, if not all, of its support from the city's Irish community - and many see the success of the club - and the city itself - as being based on the efforts of immigrants working together in a new land.

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