1. An Anglo-German diplomatic football row has emerged in the last 24 hours because of this headline on the back page of the Daily Mirror…
2. And this headline on the The Sun’s website.
The SCHWEIN refers to Bayern’s star player Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was sent off in the 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Schwein literally means pig, but while it may be a playful insult in English it’s very offensive in German, similar to calling some a bastard.
3. The German champions said in a statement on its website on Wednesday (translated from German) that it found the slur unacceptable and it will ban reporters from the two papers for the return leg next week:
After the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match between Manchester United and Bayern Munich (1-1) last Tuesday, 01.04.2014, reports in two English-language media, Daily Mirror and The Sun, were disrespectful, discriminatory and personally insulting about our player Bastian Schweinsteiger.
FC Bayern Munich does not accept this form of reporting and condemns this in the strongest terms. Especially in the Champions League, UEFA calls for a major campaign for Europe to “RESPECT”. All players wear this logo at the games on the shirts, all participants in the contest will be required to comply with “RESPECT”.
4. Clearly very pissed off, Bayern then points out that it was fined and rebuked by UEFA, European football’s governing body, for breaking the same rules.
Some of the Allianz Arena will be shut for the return leg, after some Bayern fans turned up with a banner displaying the legend “Gay Gunners” in their second round match against Arsenal.
Bayern was fined 10,000 Euros and 700 seats will be empty. The club’s argument seems to be: if we’re going to get punished for that, British newspapers should get punished for this.
5. British redtop papers have a long and not entirely glorious history of goading the Germans, best displayed by this Daily Mirror front page during Euro 96.
People tend to forget what a big furore this front page was at the time. The then editor, Piers Morgan, had to apologise on TV for the crass nature of the splash, and the accompanying editorial which said the paper was “declaring football war on Germany”.
There were also plans - entirely serious ones - to have a Mirror-sponsored Spitfire plane to fly over the German training ground and “drop copies of the paper on [German star player] Jurgen Klinsmann’s head”. Not to mention the Mirror-sponsored tank that was to “invade” the Berlin HQ of the German redtop newspaper Bild. Both ideas were straight out of the Kelvin Mackenzie school of populist stunts and both were swiftly abandoned when not everyone in the country saw the funny side, not to mention the Germans.
Morgan still thinks this was a “sense of humour failure” and we all needed to lighten up a bit. No doubt he’d say the same about this current spat with The Sun and The Mirror.
Oh and by the way, despite Morgan’s patriotism Germany beat England in the semi-final of Euro 96 and Bayern are the odds-on favourites to beat Manchester United next week.