Leon Goretzka has implored supporters to “stand up with courage” to racism having called the alleged abuse of Germany team-mates Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan “terrifying”.
The German Football Association (DFB) released a statement on Thursday condemning an incident that occurred during Germany’s 1-1 draw with Serbia on Wednesday, when Sane and Gundogan were “constantly insulted by a small group of spectators” in Wolfsburg.
A journalist posted a video on Facebook in which he described the alleged abuse, footage that Goretzka witnessed himself, and that prompted him to address the issue during a news conference on Friday.
“I would like to make a statement on this matter,” he told reporters.
“I watched the video too and was moved by it. The scenes he described were terrifying.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 21, 2019
“I think you should do everything possible against these people. I grew up in the Ruhrpott, where if you get asked where you are from, you answer with Schalke, Dortmund or Bochum.
“Here at the DFB we have said multiple times that we stand for diversity and integration natural to us.
“So this is something that has to be punished. He described that nobody stood up against these people and I can only support everybody out there to stand up with courage.”
The DFB statement said police had been informed of the incident and were now investigating.
It added: “Football is diverse – just like the whole society. Football is a role model and has the power to support social-change processes.
“The DFB therefore advocates that a climate of respect and humanity in football is taken for granted.
“To live up to this claim, on and off the pitch, is both a challenge and an obligation. Discrimination in the form of insults, disadvantages or marginalisation should not be allowed in football.”
A Wolfsburg police spokesperson has since told SID that three perpetrators have turned themselves in.
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