We Asked Every German Bundesliga Club What They Would Do If a Player Walked Off After Being Racially Abused

The Germans are more prepared than the Premier League.
Porto striker Moussa Marega trying to leave the pitch
Moussa Marega after receiving racist abuse. Screenshot via Sport TV

A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Germany.

The day after Porto striker Moussa Marega's teammates refused to walk off with him in solidarity after he was subjected to racist abuse, we contacted every Premier League club to find out what they would do in the same situation.

The response was mixed: Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Southampton and Norwich were the only clubs who signalled that they would likely refuse to keep playing if one of their players decided to take a stand by leaving the pitch. The remaining 13 Premier League clubs either gave boiler-plate "racism is bad" statements or refused to comment at all. Premier League fans across the country were not too thrilled with the responses, with a number of the largest fan groups in the country publicly calling for their clubs to do better.


As racism in football is a global problem, our colleagues at VICE Germany decided to reach out to every team in the Bundesliga – Germany's top-flight division – to find out how they support players who want to walk off after being racially abused.

Top of the League – Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Bayer Leverkusen provided the first and clearest answer. A day before their team were due to play Porto in a Europa League match, head coach Peter Bosz said of walking off: "Then we'll all go too! There is no doubt about it, because we are all the same. It doesn't matter what you look like – if it affects one of us, it affects all of us."

Borussia Dortmund's position was similar: "In the situation you described, it would be completely natural that the player comes first, and we would support him as much as possible." Dortmund followed up their statement by making it clear that any fan who expresses racist views cannot be part of the Dortmund family, and will be removed from it.

Hoffenheim were initially reluctant to give a concrete answer, instead choosing to focus on the "every situation is different" defence. But they eventually reached out with a clearer position: "Should such an unacceptable incident of discrimination occur, there would be a joint protest at the time against it, with leaving the field definitely an option."

Strong contenders – SV Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha BSC, FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, FSV Mainz 05, RB Leipzig

These clubs would also support their players, but expressed it less clearly.

Like every club that responded to us, Werder Bremen made it clear that they oppose racism. In terms of walking off, Bremen said they would give the player the greatest possible support by working with them to decide how to react. The club also pointed us to a quote that their striker Davie Selke gave to Sport Bild newspaper, in which he said: "If I was a victim of racism, I'd go straight to the changing room. If you keep playing, you give the signal that what's going on is normal. It's not normal. You should stop playing until the perpetrator leaves the stadium."


Eintracht Frankfurt gave us a long answer and referred to a quote from sporting director Fredi Bobic. "If someone behaves like that, you have to point your finger at them," he said. "Then they have to get out. And for life. Otherwise they win. I don't want to see people like that in a stadium anymore." Bobic also confirmed that players can leave the field if they wish.

Hertha BSC pointed to their anti-racist stance, and to an incident when defender Jordan Torunarigha was racially abused by opposing fans in their game against Schalke in early February. Hertha had publicly stood behind Torunaringha. Schalke, in turn, launched an investigation against their own fans.

Schalke's response was brief: "We would, of course, give the player – whether from our team or the opposing team – all possible support. Racism and discrimination have no place in a democratic, diverse society, and therefore also not in a football stadium."

Fortuna Düsseldorf would express their support for the player "by a clear public attitude and a possible conviction of the abusers. We hope that this case never occurs. To that end, the club is also very active through measures against discrimination and xenophobia."

FSV Mainz 05 told us that some of their players have been victims of racist abuse in away matches, so they have some experience of this. "We naturally supported our players fully in the situation at that time," the club said, without going into any specifics on how.


RB Leipzig said they reject xenophobia and racism. In the case of racist abuse, their stadium announcer is prepared to "exert immediate influence". In addition, the club can use the recording technology available in the Red Bull Arena to find the perpetrator and refer them to the police.

'Racism is bad thing' statements – SC Freiburg, FC Augsburg, VfL Wolfsburg,

SC Freiburg referred us to the club statutes, which states that the club: "strongly opposes xenophobia, racism and sexism".

Meanwhile, FC Augsburg said they "campaign against xenophobia and racism in all forms".

VfL Wolfsburg said they reject all forms of violence and discrimination, but declined to comment in more detail without being given more concrete examples.

FC Köln told us they have a "clear stance against racism", and pointed us towards their stadium regulations, which prohibit "the expression and distribution of racist, xenophobic or far right slogans". They said they always have to decide on a case-by-case basis, but their basic rule is that the club "stands by its players and supports them in every situation".

At the time of publication, despite several attempts to reach them, we had not received any responses from Bayern Munich, FC Union Berlin, Borussia Mönchengladbach and SC Paderborn 07. This article will be updated with their comments if and when they arrive.