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FA chairman condemns ‘disrespectful’ England fans


London (AFP) – The chairman of England’s governing Football Association has deplored the “inappropriate, disrespectful and disappointing” behaviour of some travelling fans in Germany on Wednesday.

Some England supporters in Dortmund for a friendly international against Germany could clearly be heard singing songs about World War I and II, with the chants loud enough to be picked up by television microphones.

Hours after the attack in London, and with the British national anthem politely observed by the home crowd, jeers were also heard when the German anthem was played.

Germany won 1-0 thanks to Lukas Podolski’s stunning second-half goal in his final international appearance.

“The behaviour of a section of the England support in Dortmund last night was inappropriate, disrespectful and disappointing,” FA chairman Greg Clarke said on Thursday.

“The FA has consistently urged supporters to show respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others.

“Individuals who engage in such behaviour do not represent the overwhelming majority of England fans nor the values and identity we should aspire to as a football nation.”

Clarke added: “We are working with the England Supporters Travel Club and speaking with the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) to come together to address this issue.

“Everyone involved in the game has a responsibility to ensure that attending a football match is a safe and enjoyable experience for all.”

Earlier, the FSF also hit out at the chants, saying: “Over the last 20 years English football fans have built a worldwide reputation for our passionate support and the vocal backing we give to our teams.

“Unfortunately, little of the wit and imagination that goes into our club football songs is reflected at England games.

“England’s travelling support is made of people of all ages from a range of clubs, many of whom have worked hard in recent years to improve our standing abroad and have expressed concern to us about these chants.

“We don’t want to regress to a situation where that reputation is tarnished by the actions of a minority.”

England manager Gareth Southgate, asked about the chants after the match, said he had not heard them “but it has been mentioned to me”.

“Obviously our travelling support in terms of number and the way they back the team is brilliant,” he said.

“We would encourage them to do that in the right way at all times.”

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