Eintracht Frankfurt fans. Photo: DPA
The Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt re-elected their president on Sunday after he pledged to ban anyone who supports the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) from the club.
Following the overwhelming vote, in which 99 percent of the members were in favour of him, club president Peter Fischer called on other Bundesliga teams to follow Eintracht’s example.
“I really hope that this subject will not remain a solo event carried out by Peter Fischer and Eintracht Frankfurt,” he said on Sunday evening.
“I’m sad that there only seems to be a movement in that direction in Hamburg. I hope that some others will now say: if Fischer can survive something like that at a members’ meeting and achieve such attention, then we'll also raise our voices.”
In the middle of December, Fischer told two newspapers that he did not believe that membership of his football club and support for the AfD were compatible.
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung he explained that the club had always stood for tolerance and that it was currently engaged in integration projects for migrants.
“We have members from a variety of backgrounds. Eintracht is distinguished by its diversity and cosmopolitanism,” he said. “Sport in our club is not unpolitical. The club is politically neutral, but this only goes for political parties which have values that are compatible with ours.”
Fellow Bundesliga club Hamburg SV are also considering banning AfD members from being members of the club. The club’s executive committee is set to discuss a motion on the issue which was submitted last week.
“Where are the others? Who is going to take a stand?” Fischer asked. “You don’t need such crazily big balls to do this. What I’m saying isn't some crazy opinion. I’m saying this: these are our values, they are there to read in our club rules. There are thousands of clubs that have the same rules.”
Eintracht’s decision to exclude AfD members was met with criticism from the AfD on Monday, with one party member comparing it to Nazi methods.
“What kind of people are these who give a standing ovation to a speech full of hate and defamation against people with different political opinions? I’ve seen such scenes in black and white films from the darkest period in our history,” said Dr. Malte Kaufmann, an AfD politician in Baden-Württemberg, on Twitter.
Was sind das nur für Menschen, die nach einer Hetz-Rede voller Ausgrenzung, Diffamierung & Hass gegen pol. Andersdenkende aufstehen und Standing Ovations geben? Ich habe solche Szenen in alten Filmen aus dunkelsten Zeiten unserer Geschichte gesehen. #AfDhttps://t.co/EsqnVpgdWs
— Dr. Malte Kaufmann (@MalteKaufmann) January 28, 2018