24 Jun 2006

Its about Football and not the two World wars.

I am an Indian sitting in midst of a football-crazy Europe. Having seen the Cricket craze back home, I can certainly relate. Not being football crazy (nor cricket-crazy, for that matter) gives me a unique opportunity to gain perspective on old war rivals playing against each other. Kind of reminds me of Indo-Pak cricket matches back home.

The FIFA World Cup 2006 is of particular interest to me this time because it is being hosted in Germany. Obviously, a large number of English football fans were already making their way to Germany (see: More England Fans flood Frankfurt). In order to keep the order, English fans were warned that they would face tougher action in the event of any Fan violence (see: England fans face tougher action).
The England supporters must understand that we are guests in Nuremberg, and that our behaviour has to be as the guests.

- Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas.British Police.
German and British police patrol togetherGiven the history of english fan violence (see: Timeline - England Football violence), the British police will be patrolling the streets of Germany alongside their German counterparts in an effort to help (see picture). This is a great way to help the fans and bridge any cultural gaps that may produce any misunderstandings with the authorities (see: British bobbies charm Frankfurt). This was the first time that uniformed officers of a different nationality were patrolling the streets of Germany after the war (see: Q&A - Worldcup Policing). Quite obviously, this was a hit with tourists from all over the world.

Also worth a mention was the Football fans' visit to the former concentration camp at Dachau (see: In pictures - World Cup fans visit Dachau). The visit was organized by Mark Perryman who felt it would be a good idea to put things into perspective.

Our rivalry with the Germans is about football not two world wars. It seemed appropriate to give up a morning here to remember the Holocaust.

- Mark Perryman, Organizer
Its quite a pleasure to see such a level of cooperation between governments - Given the history that the two nations share.

I cannot help but compare this to the Indo-Pak matches. Both India and Pakistan have shown equal level of cooperation, but we have a long way to go before we can see something of this magnitude. But i remain hopeful :)

Image credits: BBC
Also see: BBC Sport and Radio 1's World Cup Pool on Flickr.

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