German federation condemns anti-Semitic incident

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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (AP) -The German football federation has condemned an anti-Semitic incident involving Kaiserslautern's Israel striker Itay Shechter and says it will not tolerate such abuse.

A small group of Kaiserslautern fans directed Hitler salutes at Shechter during Sunday's practice.

"We want to underline that the DFB (federation) will not tolerate such actions and we must act decisively to nip them in the bud," the DFB's designated president Wolfgang Niersbach said in a statement Tuesday.

"Racism and anti-Semitism have no place in football. We have to defend ourselves with all means available to football against (such incident)," said Niersbach, who takes over Friday from Theo Zwanziger. "And we wish that authorities will pursue the case decisively."

The club, which is next to last in the Bundesliga, reported the incident to the police. Police spokesman Wolfgang Denzer said authorities were still evaluating the evidence.

The club's official fan group has apologized for the incident. The club says fewer than 10 fans were involved and belonged to a hooligan group banned from games. Kaiserslautern has urged fans to help police identify the perpetrators.

On Monday, the club said it "distances itself expressly from any form of racism, discrimination or anti-Semitism." Kaiserslautern spokesman Christian Grubber said the club has received more than 1,000 emails condemning the incident.

The Israeli embassy in Berlin and also condemned the attack and said it was "appalled."

Hitler salutes and other Nazi symbols are outlawed in Germany.

The DFB has conducted a campaign to eliminate racism and other abuse for years and such incidents are rare at top league matches, although lower leagues remain a problem.

Kaiserslautern fans were angry after the team's 4-0 loss at Mainz and demanded to speak to the players during Sunday's practice.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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