Germany’s soccer federation denounced “racist campaigns” against national team players Monday ahead of a trial in which officials from the country’s leading far-right party are accused of racial incitement and defamation.
National Democratic Party leader Udo Voigt and two other party leaders are to appear in a Berlin district court Tuesday on charges linked to a pamphlet circulated before the 2006 World Cup.
Prosecutors maintain that the document implied Patrick Owomoyela–born of a German mother and a Nigerian father–was not worthy to play for Germany.
The flier showed the German team’s traditional white jersey imprinted with the No. 25–worn at the time by Owomoyela–over the title: “White, not just a jersey color! For a real NATIONAL team!”
Owomoyela and the soccer federation filed a lawsuit against the party. In a statement Monday, the federation said it wanted to fight “the racist campaigns against players for the German national team.”
Prosecutors have charged Voigt and two others responsible for printing the leaflets with two counts of racial incitement and one of defamation. If convicted, the three could each face a fine or up to three years in prison.