Tag Archives: rules

Football, stadion violence, and DFB escalation tactics

17 Aug Fire in Calgary

It is no secret that my appreciation for football (or soccer, as the uninitiated North-American populus calls it) is rather limited. I genuinely loose all ability to concentrate when two dozen millionaires shove a ball around to determine who can deliver the most convincing charade of “wounded world war soldier”. Rollerderby is my spectator sport of choice, and likely will remain so. But the German Football Association (DFB) has sported a novel approach to combat stadium violence that is begging for uninformed commentary. And so, I shall deliver.


Hooligans afoot

German football has recently suffered some tragedies, and for a change I am not talking about the lost championship of the ladies. No, football in Germany is facing increasing levels of uninvited violence, to a degree where hooligans bring weapons and arson kits, to lay waste to the stadium when the game is not running a favourable course. This aggression has been building for two decades, and has finally reached a level that urges even the otherwise reality-deprived council of DFB officials to act. It started quite innocently with toilet paper rolls being thrown onto the play filed, and over the years advanced to bottles and cans, and finally to fireworks and Molotov cocktails.

The DFB has always exclaimed their sympathy for the victims, while condoning the radical perpetrators, and even punished the football clubs that were associated with the rioting mobs. In the extreme some clubs had to play entire games in a stadium void of any spectators; equivalent to Steven Spielberg premiering his latest popcorn movie in front of an audience that consists exclusively of critics. Unsurprisingly, the clubs and their fans are very unhappy about community punishments like these, because they hurt the sport, and they don’t seem to invoke any positive change – the hooligans just reappear a few games later, and continue their dirty work.


Football stadium Southampton

A Football stadium can be home of great joy … and great physical pain.

A political approach

But the DFB would not be one of the richest and most prestigious sporting organisations in Europe, if they had not found a disputable solution for the problem of escalating violence. The DFB has now officially announced plans to engage the radical hooligans in a dialogue, and commit to change the rules in their favour. When prompted upon this new brotherly love for violent extremists DFB officials replied that in the future stadiums might be graced with special sections where, for example, “small fireworks” can be burned. Admittedly I do not understand the logic behind that approach, but I also am not a football fan, so maybe my perspective as an outsider might be useful for the discussion.

The outrage of actual fans over previous punishments that targeted entire clubs is understandable. You don’t close down a supermarket because some of its costumers engage in organised theft. The kleptomaniacs would just follow their practices elsewhere.

However, I find it equally unwise to establish a “lawless section” in every supermarket, or in this case stadium. Certainly, kleptomaniacs will be happy to have an isle where they can steal without fearing legal consequence. And when expensive items get stolen, security will know in which section to look for the perpetrators. But what about the young football-enthusiastic families and fans, in whose name the DFB is discussing those changes? Will parents really be happy to have a stadium section where fireworks are allowed, considering that many people who light football fireworks are also prone to toss them at players and rivalling fans? And what item might be next on the list of special admits – glass bottles; spray cans; flick knifes?



I’ve never seen spectators bring glass bottles or fireworks to a rollerderby bout. It’s not even a rule – people just don’t do it.

Haters gonna hate

Nobody asks for my opinion, but I am so used to being underappreciated that I offer it anyway. Why don’t we go the opposite path, and treat criminals like criminals? Every house has rules, and if an individual breaks them, the house owner has the right to evict and repent that perpetrator. I cannot think of any sport experience that would be enhanced by the occurrence of fireworks and physical hostility. Maybe Blood Bowl, but that’s not a legal pass time activity either.

There is still plenty of space in our prisons, so there really is no reason to let people run free who repeatedly break the rules of fan engagement. Throwing fireworks into the crowd, and beating up bystanders would not be tolerated in a shopping mall, so it really should not be tolerated at a sport event either. It has become sad common practice to ignore both law and community when dealing with powerful minorities, otherwise certain cosmopolitan criminals would not be in charge of their respective countries right now. But it can’t be too much to ask the big, wealthy German football clubs to keep an eye open for violent criminals, catch them, and hand them over to the authorities.

And if you absolutely have to fill a particular section of the stadium with criminals, please let them be pickpockets and exhibitionists. At least the rest of us will have something funny to watch.

Female house mates – worth the trouble?

28 Oct

Dear Vallery,


for four months I had the pleasure of being your acting landlord. For one week I had the discomfort of frequent argumentation with you, and since you recently decided that you don’t want to live in my house evermore, I would like to write a few words of praise. I know that you are a frequent reddit user, so you will find this post eventually.

Since I never had a girl friend, I appreciated the opportunity to share my house with a lady, and get to know the female thoughts after dark (sounds like a dirty phrase, but the twilight changes moods not only in vampires). It was fun as long as it lasted, and you made some indisputable positive contributions to this community. You are a great cook and we all thank you for sharing your well prepared art deco meals with us. To me it remains questionable why small meals cannot be prepared in a countertop stove, but maybe chefs don’t believe in those devices. That decision runs a bit counterintuitive to your pretending of being environmentally conscious, though. Maybe the degree of deliciousness of a meal is directly dependant on the amount of energy that was used to prepare it, who knows?! At least you discovered the joy of slow cookers; I very much respect that.

Living with five house mates under one roof is a tricky social challenge, especially in a mixed gender situation, and I tried to give every member of this household as much freedom as possible. This may not have been the best idea, and I am thankful that you asked me to be stricter about the house rules. As a direct result I reminded you to wear your head phones when watching videos and making Skype calls, which you answered with your bitchy “No” that I am so tired of. I’m afraid living in this house is associated with compromises, and an emotional “No” may not be an acceptable response to a rule reminder that you spawned yourself. Sure, I am just as guilty for playing my guitar every morning and acting as your acoustic wake-up call, so that you get to work in time. Since everybody else in the house is fine with that practice, I don’t see it as problematic, but that’s just my opinion.


I apologize for not providing the support that your project of room swapping deserved. I admit my excitement about your idea to rotate three of us around, as it might have improved the living situation of all of us. However, experience taught me not to stack the expectations too high about your ambitious projects. It took two months for you to take care of the unstable kitchen shelves that you put up. And we are still waiting for that kitchen to paint itself. Nevermind, I am fine with the current color scheme, and I never really thought you would do that anyway.

I thank you for taking care of the kitchen shelves, and replacing the unstable shelving unit with something robust. As a sustainability nerd I have two objections against the way that you did it: I don’t like acquiring new stuff, and I especially hate plastic. I believe that a used metal shelf would have done the trick. Still, thank you for your efforts. I am now much less worried about getting slaughtered by tumbling pots and pans.


That you called me a liar did not come as a shock. It is disrespectful, but not unexpected. We survived a Chinese demon, a Peruvian psychopath and a Canadian schizophrenic, so I am aware that there are many stories about this community and this house that you find hard to believe. I am sorry that we could not let you dog-sit that little friend of yours, but I find it too risky to have a dog in a house that has a no-pet policy. Our landlady vibes with the idea of getting rid of me and renting the house to someone else, and charging 25% more money for it; and I really don’t want to give her any legal reason to go forth with that plan. When I claim that some of the neighbours are watching us and report irregularities to her, I have good reasons to do so.


Finally, let me say a few words about social justice. You seem to be quite aggravated about Nicolas, who I allegedly picked as a favourite tenant, and accordingly has privileges beyond compare. You are right, I do not rotate him around in the cycle of chores. Just like I don’t rotate you around, because you made a case for yourself to take over his chores. Wait, does that make you my new favourite? Of course not, because I currently do the bathroom cleaning for Nicolas. Just like I often do the chores for Manuel, when he is overly busy or forgets or only does a half-asked job. Now you may argue that the downstairs bathroom is a much easier task, and Nicolas therefore has a much simpler life. Well, you have seen him getting up from the sofa. He has serious physical issues bending his knees, so I cannot give him floor cleaning duties. He is mostly up before 5 A.M., so I cannot give him the snow shoveling, if you don’t want to wake up at 4:30 to the sound of a snow shovel in front of your window. Since you so much desired to get the upstairs bathroom as your one and only duty, we are not left with many options.

That I do the weekly cleaning for him is a personal arrangement between me and Nicolas. It saves me from arguing with him about the noisiness of the main floor of the house, which prevents him from sleeping, which nullifies the time that would be necessary for the cleaning. I know that you don’t cling the dishes, rumble the cupboards or converse loudly on purpose, but you still bloody do it. And it does not go well with people who go to bed early.

Aristotéles wrote: “At his best, man is the noblest of animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” Am I unjust? I don’t know. How to you weight a healthy sleep against cleaning tasks? Compromises are never perceived as equally fair by everyone. And living together is all about compromises. Am I too lax or too strict about our house-internal laws? No idea; no one but you ever complains. The eye of the beholder may judge this situation; I dare not give answer.


I still don’t know where and when I went wrong with you; how I managed to destroy the good relationship that we started with. After all, our first two months were really joyful, and I miss the engaged discussions about life, history and politics that we shared over a slice of bread and a cup of tea. It grieves me that we are parting in such a way. But I certainly hope that you made the right decision, and that your new living arrangement correlates better with your life style. I apologize for the mental prison that I appear to have kept you in.

Not sure if I am ready for another female housemate. But I certainly got away from that whole girlfriend idea. Discussions appear to work out rather badly when one side is emotional and the other one rational. Men and women don’t fit together. What is a heterosexual man to do?


Remaining your friend in need,