Zoom Image

Sports field in Frankfurt am Main (Eckenheim district)

Photo: Michael Probst / AP

An escalation on the football pitch has come to a tragic end in Frankfurt am Main. A 15-year-old from Berlin was declared brain dead after a brawl at an international youth football tournament. A police spokesman said on Tuesday evening. Previously, several media had reported, including Hessischer Rundfunk.

On Whit Sunday, after the final whistle of a game on the sports field in the Eckenheim district at around 16:10 p.m., a brawl between players of a French and a Berlin team occurred, as the police and the public prosecutor's office had jointly announced.

A 16-year-old player of the French football team is said to have hit the young man from Berlin against the head or neck. The 15-year-old collapsed and had to be resuscitated. In the hospital, the most serious life-threatening brain injuries were found.

The alleged perpetrator was reportedly arrested and remanded in custody on Monday. The police are now looking for witnesses.

The organizers of the international youth tournament announced on their website that they would exhaust all possibilities to make their contribution to education. "We are deeply shocked by the events. It's incredibly sad. We are devastated. The violence on the football pitches must stop. Our thoughts are with the teammates and parents of the player," it also said.

At the tournament, teams kicked on various pitches in Frankfurt over Pentecost. Games in the age groups U9 (born in 2014 and younger) to U11 (born in 2012 and younger) and U17 (born in 2006 and younger) took place on the affected pitch.

Politicians and football officials are dismayed

FC Metz wrote on its homepage that the affected young player from the club's performance programme denied having intentionally injured the other youngster. The club and all players and parents present are at the disposal of the German authorities to advance the investigation.

Berlin's Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger (SPD), wrote on Twitter: "The fact that a young player was torn from life after a football match in Frankfurt am Main makes me stunned, leaves me speechless. I wish the relatives, the friends and the team an infinite amount of strength in this darkest hour.«

RBB quoted Bernd Schultz, president of the Berlin Football Association: "Our thoughts and sympathy go out to all the relatives and team members of the affected player in these difficult hours." Since Sunday, they have been in close contact with the Berlin association in order to support it and its members wherever possible.

"We are shocked that a young person is fighting for his life through violence on a Hessian soccer field. Our thoughts are with the boy's relatives," said the Vice President of the Hessian Football Association, Prof. Dr. Silke Sinning.