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German FA threatens legal action after U17 players racially abused online

Pakawich Damrongkiattisak - FIFA / FIFA / Getty

The German football association (DFB) on Thursday condemned racist abuse directed at members of the under-17 national team on social media and warned offenders it could pursue legal action.

The DFB posted a picture of four team members after Germany's 3-2 win over the United States in the last 16 of the Under-17 World Cup in Indonesia.

But some social media users made a number of racist comments insulting the players in the picture - Charles Herrmann, Almugera Kabar, Paris Brunner and Fayssal Harchaoui - all of whom are non-white.

After the insults, the DFB restricted comments on the post and issued a statement saying "we are proud of the diversity in our U17s, who are currently playing their hearts out on the pitch in Indonesia."

"Our commitment to diversity is firmly anchored in the DFB Statutes, as are values of tolerance and respect.

"If you do not share these values, please unfollow us. Discriminatory and racist comments have no place here and will be deleted accordingly. We will take legal action against offensive content."

World Cup winner Jerome Boateng, 35, spoke out on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday.

"German junior national players were racially insulted after a win at the World Cup for Germany? In 2023? Are you serious? When will this ever stop?" he posted.

Boateng, a fixture in the Germany side for several years, was subject to similar abuse during his career. 

In 2016, deputy leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, Alexander Gauland, said "people like him as a football player, but they don't want to have a Boateng as a neighbour."

Herrmann, who was named player of the match in the victory over the U.S., told the DFB website on Thursday: "We are like a family not only on the pitch but also off it and we will support each other no matter what."

The side has won all of its matches at the World Cup and will take on Spain in the quarterfinals on Friday.

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