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May 24, 2018
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Czech football fans who assaulted African man on Prague tram have not been banned from matches

9.2.2018 6:39
Miloš Zeman (left) and Governor of the Olomouc Region Ladislav Okleštěk (ANO) (Collage:
Miloš Zeman (left) and Governor of the Olomouc Region Ladislav Okleštěk (ANO) (Collage:

Fans of the football club Sigma Olomouc who assaulted a man from West Africa last November on a Prague tram have not yet been banned from attending the club's matches despite the fact that club spokesperson Petr Pelíšek, responding to the incident in the fall, said the club was prepared to cooperate with police on measures to ban them. News server Olomoucký deník reported last week that Sigma Olomouc does not yet know the identity of the perpetrators of the incident.

The club already has a list of infamous, problematic fans whom they do not allow to attend the club's home matches, but whether the attackers are among them is not certain. The club told the news server that it does not anticipate getting any names from the police about the incident.

"These are not people who are registered in any way with SK Signa Olomouc," Pelíšek said on 31 January. "The police have no reason to contact us about that incident."

According to security manager Milan Zapletal, the club's list is one of hooligans who cause problems regularly and whom the club does not admit to its home matches. "We believe these people [on the list] are known quantities," he said last fall.

"If there are people like this attending whom we don't know, the police patrol the stadium and identify them," the security manager said. He did admit that if the club does not have the names of conflict-causing fans, then his options for preventing them from attending matches are limited.

The victim of the attack was hospitalized as a result of the injuries he sustained. Police arrested several of the assailants that same day and began investigating them on suspicion of committing felony defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other group, of rioting, and of battery.

When asked for comment about the incident, both Czech President Miloš Zeman and the Governor of the Olomouc Region, Ladislav Okleštěk (ANO), cast doubt on whether the assault had been racially motivated. The victim told the media that none of his fellow passengers came to his aid and that the driver of the tram claimed to not understand why he needed help calling the police.

agw, bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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