German soccer federation limits Facebook comments following racist abuse directed at U17 players

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The German soccer federation has had to limit comments on the Facebook page of its junior teams following a slew of racist and discriminatory comments against its Under-17 players. The federation posted a picture of four players from the Germany U17 team, all Black, celebrating Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the United States in the round of 16 at the U17 World Cup in Indonesia. But the post was met by a torrent of racist comments from a host of Facebook users about the players – Charles Herrmann, Almugera Kabar, Paris Brunner (all from Borussia Dortmund) and Fayssal Harchaoui (Cologne).

The federation responded by switching off comments and posting a statement of its own. “We’re proud of the diversity in our Under-17s, who are currently playing their hearts out in Indonesia,” the federation said. “The commitment to diversity is firmly anchored in the federation’s statutes – as are the values of tolerance and respect. If you don’t share these values, please unfollow us. Discriminatory and racist comments have no place here and will be deleted accordingly. We will take legal action against offensive content.” The Germany Under-17 team has won all its games at the World Cup so far and next faces Spain in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Herrmann, who was player of the match against the U.S., told the federation’s website Thursday that the team’s unity was a major factor in its success so far. “We’re like a family and we support each other in every situation. We believe in ourselves every second and never give up,” Herrmann said. “That can take us to the final and to the title.”

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