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Erfurt and Jena file criminal charges after derby riots

Pyrotechnics in the fan block of FC Carl Zeiss Jena / Photo: Jacob Schröter/dpa
Pyrotechnics in the fan block of FC Carl Zeiss Jena / Photo: Jacob Schröter/dpa

Riots broke out during the Thuringia derby between Carl Zeiss Jena and Rot-Weiß Erfurt. Both clubs have now filed criminal charges.

After the riots at the 107th Thuringia derby, Carl Zeiss Jena and Rot-Weiß Erfurt have filed criminal charges. This was announced by both regional league clubs on Thursday. The charges are directed against persons unknown. The North-East German Football Association (NOFV) was informed of the charges by the clubs and asked for assistance in clarifying the matter.

The match on March 16 at Jena's Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld had to be interrupted by referee Michael Näther in the 80th minute after Erfurt supporters shot flares at a neighboring stand where families with children were sitting. It was probably only due to fortunate circumstances that nobody was injured. The match was interrupted for 30 minutes and was even about to be abandoned.

The NOFV has already opened an investigation. Both clubs will probably have to pay a fine. The payments are one of the reasons why Erfurt manager Franz Gerber suggested a general ban on away fans after the incidents. Last season alone, Erfurt had to pay 70,000 euros in fines.

The proposal was met with rejection from both the NOFV and the umbrella organization for fan support. "Generally excluding people from soccer matches would be a bit of a capitulation to the things that happen and as bad as it is, we have to work on it, we have to clear it up. But I want everyone to be able to come to the stadiums," said NOFV president Hermann Winkler.

Riots between opposing fan groups occur time and again in the north-east division. As recently as mid-February, there was a riot by home fans before the match between Babelsberg and Zwickau. Other duels, such as the Leipzig derby between Chemie and 1. FC Lok, have also seen regular clashes.

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