Germans act fast after 1860 Munich fans' racist chanting

Danny da CostaBy Andrew Warshaw
August 20 - German football authorities have begun a probe into a rare case of racism after abuse was directed at Under-21 international Danny da Costa by fans of 1860 Munich during a second division game on Sunday. The club have already issued an apology to da Costa who plays for FC Ingolstadt, with sports director Florian Hinterberger telling German television the incident was "extremely regrettable".

Unlike in many European countries, notably Italy and parts of eastern Europe, racism is extremely rare in German football and Da Costa, born in Germany to parents from Congo and Angola, said he believed it was a one-off.

"I never thought that sort of thing would happen to me," Da Costa, who has only just made his under-21 debut, was quoted as saying. "I think it was an isolated incident. It is not a specific problem of 1860 fans.

"I think actually in Germany these things are quite well under control, but if some idiots get out of line, there's nothing you can do. If you drag the normal fans into this, it wouldn't be fair."

Nevertheless, he has received countless messages of support from fellow players, not least Bayern Munich's German international Jerome Boateng whose half-brother Kevin Prince Boateng famously walked off the pitch in January while playing for AC Milan in a winter break friendly, sparking a new crackdown by FIFA and UEFA.

During Sunday's fixture, da Costa informed the referee of racist chanting and the game was interrupted for a stadium announcement.

"I told him I was being viciously insulted, that this was no longer acceptable for me," he was quoted as saying. "Several people felt the need during the throw-ins or any contact with the ball to shout stuff like 'n*****' or 'Black Pig' in my direction. Every time the ball came near me, there were monkey chants. After the announcement the situation became somewhat better."

German football federation (DFB) assistant secretary general Stefan Hans condemned the behaviour. "Without ifs or buts the DFB stands for a clear position that racism, xenophobia and every form of discrimination has no place in football or in any other areas of coexistence," he said.

The Munich outfit released a statement also condemning the abuse, and warned their fans such instances would not be tolerated. They said they had identified one fan who would receive a stadium ban. 1860 chief executive Robert Schafer told the club's website: "Each case of this type is one case too many."

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