Fürth coach Zorniger strongly criticizes fans for protests

After fan protests, the Fürth coach is more clear than any of his colleagues. The game against Hannover was about to be canceled.

The tone of the dispute between fans and football representatives is becoming sharper. Now Alexander Zorniger from SpVgg Greuther Fürth has spoken out. The reason is the ongoing fan protests in German professional football. The coach criticized the fans’ behavior on Friday evening more clearly than any active first or second division coach before him. “The fan groups are currently playing their own game,” said the 56-year-old on Friday evening after his team’s 2-1 defeat at Hannover 96 in the 2nd Bundesliga. “They lead the referees, the DFL, the teams, everyone through the ring by the nose. And no one intervenes.”

Because of the protests against the planned investment of investors in the German Football League (DFL), the game in Hanover on Friday evening was interrupted for a total of more than 20 minutes and, according to referee Patrick Ittrich, was even about to be canceled. Hannover 96 fans repeatedly threw tennis balls onto the pitch.

“That doesn’t work””

“I find it unspeakable when it is repeatedly suggested that the fans are the heart of the game. The only group without whom you cannot play a game are the footballers themselves,” said Zorniger. “The fans are the soul of the game, without a doubt. But they are not the heart of the game. And the heart is currently experiencing acute cardiac arrhythmias because you are simply no longer focused. A non-professional athlete cannot imagine what that is like If you start over and over again and ‘slow down’ again and again, that won’t work. It can’t go on like this.”

Zorniger explicitly emphasized at the press conference after the game that he had not asked referee Ittrich to stop the game. The former coach of RB Leipzig and VfB Stuttgart also said: “If a game cannot be played under regular conditions, why does a game have to be played through? Then you say: It’s over now!”

His coaching colleague Stefan Leitl from Hannover 96 agreed with Zorniger. “The game belongs to the players. People come to the stadium because of the players. They want to see a football game,” he said. “We need a solution as quickly as possible.”