'Xenophobia must be prevented at World Cup'

German football chiefs have called for the nation to protest against neo-Nazi marches during this month’s World Cup finals and show the world that a unified Germany has no time for xenophobia.

A number of neo-Nazi organisations are expected to use the World Cup, beginning in just seven days time, as a platform to voice their opinions, and Theo Zwanziger, president of the German Football Federation (DFB), believes it is the country’s duty to stand up to the radicals.

“If it does come to marches from neo-Nazis I hope there are protests against them so that the real Germany is there for all to see,” said Zwanziger.

“I think this issue is very serious because it concerns our image abroad. One reason for trying to stage the World Cup was to present a unified Germany and our unified country has nothing to do with xenophobia.”

German international striker Gerald Asamoah, the first black player to represent the country, recently urged everyone connected with the finals to do all they can to prevent racist neo-Nazis spoiling the World Cup.

The 27-year-old Asamoah, who was born in Ghana, has been targeted by neo-Nazi groups unhappy that he is playing for their homeland.

Germany open the World Cup against Costa Rica on June 9 in Munich.—AFP

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