Leipzig. Monika Lazar has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2004. As the spokesperson for sports policy for the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group, she asked the federal government at the beginning of the year why the number of people registered in the “Violent Sport” (DGS) file skyrocketed in times of ghost games. The answer made waves. Now the legislative period ends. Lazar is not running again.
SPORTBUZZER: In your opinion, did your request about storage in the file “violent offenders sport” lead to an awareness of the behavior of the police with regard to football fans?
Monika Lazar: I hope that we will slowly make a difference with the continuous inquiries about the “Violent Sport” file and the press coverage about it. In particular, the absurd storages during the ghost game time attracted attention. I think that a lot of people have realized what a non-transparent data collection this is. It is important to keep up the pressure here and to point out again and again that fans who are willing to use violence are generally a small minority, and that even in the file “violent sports” there are by no means only violent offenders. There is a lot of “bycatch” involved, because a personal identification or a dismissal in the vicinity of a football game can be sufficient as a reason for storage. This contributes to the stigmatization of football fans.
How can one act against the stereotyping of violent fans on the one hand, and on the other how can political pressure be built up so that a nationwide duty to provide information is prescribed and applied?
Since most of the storage is carried out by the state police authorities, it is primarily the states that are responsible here. In Bremen, for example, a very progressive police law was passed with Green government participation, which will come into force in September. If data is transmitted to composite files, including the DGS, the person concerned is automatically informed. If the Bremen police want to initiate a stadium ban, they must in future give the person concerned a fair hearing before they can transmit the data to the club or the DFB. There is a similar regulation with regard to data transfers to non-EU countries, this is interesting for example before European Cup games. That should serve as a model for other federal states!
You speak of the state police authorities. What about the federal police?
My last request to the Federal Government showed that the Federal Police have the option of informing those affected directly about storage in the file “Violent Criminal Sports”, but they do not use it. So you have to assume that there is no political desire to create transparency here. It is not enough to provide the federal police headquarters with information about those affected; all filing authorities must be obliged to provide information, as is the case in Bremen, for example. The Federal Ministry of the Interior is challenged with regard to the Federal Police.
How do you see the introduction of personalized tickets? Isn’t the criticism of the mass of data torpedoed and thus assumed that all people who go to football tend to be violent per se?
I don’t believe in personalized tickets. The fan culture is restricted as a result: Spontaneous visits to games or the passing on of a card are made almost impossible. In addition, the collection of personalized data is always an encroachment on personal rights and requires special justification. This exists, for example, to track contacts during the corona pandemic. These restrictions, which are necessary during the pandemic, have to be withdrawn as soon as they are no longer necessary. “
What is your current conclusion on the debate?
It is absurd that the Saxon Interior Minister Wöller justifies his request for personalized tickets with the riots surrounding the Dynamo Dresden game on May 16. These were riots in front of the stadium. Personalized tickets could not have prevented this. It must be prevented that such events or the pandemic are used to create the “glass football fan”.
Can the debate about the rainbow flag for the game between Germany and Hungary lead in society as a whole to more people grappling with the relationship between football and politics?
Absolutely, yes. Suddenly, a lot of people who would otherwise probably have little interest in football and LGBTI topics have dealt with it. Many politicians, especially conservative ones, who then posed with rainbow flags, I would have liked to support LGBTI people in this country, for example in the votes on marriage for all and the self-determination law. There was something hypocritical about that. With the ban on rainbow lighting in the Munich stadium and its absurd justification, UEFA scored an own goal and reduced its own image campaigns to absurdity. The wave of solidarity that has set off across Europe has definitely moved something, after all, the EU Commission is now also reacting to the Hungarian law, which is hostile to LGBTI people. Sport is always also political. The commitment to human rights and democratic values must not be sanctioned.
What does that mean for German (professional) football?
In German professional men’s football, which is still partly characterized by antiquated images of masculinity, there is still no openly homosexual active player. But here, too, something is happening: Most clubs have queer fan clubs, there are fan alliances such as the “football fans against homophobia”, choreographies of active fan scenes against LGBTI hostility and the DFB recently had a contact point for gender and sexual diversity with the LSVD set up. Something is definitely in motion here.