The Shame of German Football Persists: The Story of Daniel Nivel

news 21-Jun-2023 Sport

The Shame of German Football Lingers On 43 years old, Daniel Nivel is on duty as a police officer during the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Prior to the match between the German national team and the Yugoslavian national team, hooligans brutally attack the Frenchman, leaving him in a coma for six weeks. A quarter of a century later, what he misses the most is his freedom.

Daniel Nivel is blind in one eye, unable to smell or taste, and has limited hearing. However, the most challenging aspect for the 68-year-old today is that he can no longer speak, 25 years after the cowardly attack by German hooligans. "He deeply misses the ability to express himself," said his wife Lorette to "Sport Bild" on the anniversary, emphasizing, "June 21, 1998 remains unforgettable. They took away my husband's freedom."

That fateful Sunday at the World Cup in France became known as the "Shame of Lens" in German football history. DFB President Bernd Neuendorf refers to it as "one of the darkest chapters in German football" in a new ZDF documentary about the attack that still leaves people speechless a quarter of a century later. The perpetrators were described as "behaving like monsters" in the subsequent trial.

On that day, a three-digit number of German troublemakers roamed the streets of the small northern French town where Germany was set to play against Yugoslavia in the evening. Nivel, together with two other French gendarmes, blocks off the narrow Rue Romuald Pruvost when they are attacked by a small group of hooligans. Nivel's two colleagues manage to escape. Prison sentences for hooligans provide little consolation

However, Nivel, 43 years old at the time and a father of two, is pushed to the ground by an unknown man who still remains unidentified today, and he loses his helmet. Several men kick and beat the defenseless police officer, some using a wooden advertising sign and the butt of his tear gas rifle. Nivel lies in a pool of blood and only wakes up from the coma after six weeks. He has no recollection of the attack.

Germany and France are in shock after the brutal assault. Chancellor Helmut Kohl describes the perpetrators as a "shame for our country." The then-president of the DFB, Egidius Braun, even considers withdrawing the German team from the World Cup. However, Kohl and UEFA President Lennart Johansson convinced "me," Braun said, "that it would not have been the right approach - the violent offenders would have triumphed over sports." The impact of the incident still resonates today. In 2000, the DFB established the Daniel Nivel Foundation, which focuses on violence prevention among other initiatives. Nivel has been invited by the DFB to attend football matches multiple times, including the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2016 European Championship in France. Prior to the UEFA Nations League match on October 16, 2018, in Paris, he was awarded the Order of Merit by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Six hooligans were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three and a half to ten years in multiple trials between 1999 and 2003. For the Nivel family, this provided little solace. "They," said wife Lorette, "eventually got out of prison and got their lives back." The house with the number 74 on Rue Romuald Pruvost, where Nivel's life was nearly extinguished, has long been demolished. It has been replaced

Related Post

Polular post