Delicate, sophisticated, filigree soccer art.
(Fill ee GRAH nah FOOSS ball KOONST.)
Delicate, sophisticated, filigree soccer art.
(Fill ee GRAH nah FOOSS ball KOONST.)
For years, so probably decades, European soccer hooligans have been throwing bananas on the pitch as a racist insult, though sometimes they can make it clear the insult is nonracist yet still highly insulting.
Recently, a Brazilian player picked up one of these fallen bananas and calmly ate it. Now, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said, people are posting photos of themselves eating bananas as an anti-racist gesture. Italy’s new prime minister Matteo Renzi joined the meme, for example.
Achtung: this article contains photos of very good-looking men eating bananas.
(Saw lee dah ree TATES bon on on.)
“Street sweeper.” The Gassen are the charming little narrow alleys, las calles, in medieval towns. Terry Pratchett joked that some of them faithfully reproduce the paths cows used to take to the river.
A Gassenfeger is a television show that’s so interesting people magically melt away from the town’s parks and picturesque little byways when it’s about to be broadcast, drifting instead into neighborhood pubs and living rooms.
(GOSS en fae gah.)
In his gentle, well-spoken statements and interviews since his recent coming-out announcement, retired national German soccer star Thomas Hitzlsperger said he thinks Germany is heading in the right direction when it comes to not tolerating homophobia.
“Some folks still discriminate against minorities though. They should ask themselves if they have good reasons for doing so.”
(GOOT ah GRINNED ah.)
The Deutscher Fussball-Bund [“German Soccer Association”] and new Nationaler Antidoping-Agentur [“National Anti-doping Agency”] compromised on 500 anti-doping tests in professional German soccer in the coming season. That is 500 tests total for apparently all Bundesliga, second Liga and Junior teams, as well as the “A” national team. This averages out to fewer than two blood tests this year per each of the 36 professional teams, according to ZDF heute journal and Stern.de. There will be 75 blood and urine tests and 425 tests of urine only. A Dopingjäger pharmacologist criticized the numbers as insufficient and the current negotiation process as “pure cow trading* and nothing more.” He also said the new agreement includes a 15% reduction in urine tests. Canada’s C.B.C. reported that any anti-doping blood tests at all would be a new thing in the Bundesliga.
Statistics provided on the D.F.B. website at the time of the August 2013 announcement said the association had six million members.
* Cow trading means horse trading.
(DOPE ingk YAY gah.)
Extending the statute of limitations period.
At the Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg in November 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency (W.A.D.A.) agreed to increase the ban on athletes caught doping from two years to four years, increase the statute of limitations for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs from eight years to ten years, and increase the world anti-doping agency’s power versus sport associations and country-level athletics organizations. Athletics support staff, wrote MiamiHerald.com, such as trainers, coaches and officials, “were not subject to the same anti-doping rules as athletes” but that has now been changed. W.A.D.A. and the International Cycling Union said they will also be creating an inquiry commission to investigate bicycling’s lethally performance-enhanced history. These changes will go into effect 01 Jan 2015, in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
MiamiHerald.com reported drugs testing in sport is starting to focus more on intelligence gathering, “as a complement to” traditional urine and blood sampling, and that such “investigation” is how the evidence was acquired for the recent BALCO, Operation Puerto and Lance Armstrong discoveries. At least Bundesliga soccer has not been fully participating in effective anti-doping sampling regimens, taking few samples and discarding them early.
In October 2013, ARD tagesschau.de broadcast an interesting report on the assignation of guilts in a German cyclist’s doping trial. If the cycling team’s managers knew about doping on the team, the judges decided, then after cyclists get caught doping their managers can’t sue them for violation of the team’s official rules.
“This first criminal trial against a doping sinner shows that with the existing criminal laws it could be difficult in principle to achieve a deterrent effect on professional athletes. For a long time now people have been discussing the introduction of a specific paragraph about athletic cheating, making it a crime to ‘distort competition’ [Wettbewerbsverzerrung], as occurs during doping.”
–Frank Bräutigam, excellent legal correspondent for ARD tagesschau.de
A pundit complained that if the cyclist had been found guilty, the verdict would have had far-reaching negative effects such as not punishing team doctors for doping while punishing athletes caught doing it, even though the athletes probably aren’t aware of the full spectrum of harmful side effects and the team doctors are.
(Fair YAIR oongs frissed fair LENG airn.)
A hearing was held after a Hoffenheim vs. Bayer Leverkusen soccer match in which Leverkusen headed the ball through a single broken strand of the side net, much harder than a normal goal, and the referee mistakenly said it counted. The Deutscher Fussballbund’s tribunal decided to let Hoffenheim’s loss stand. They said the ref made a “facts decision” [Tatsachenentscheidung]. D.F.B. officials regretted that no one is happy about this.
ZDF heute journal’s Marietta Slomka: “When is a goal not a goal? When it’s still a goal.”
(Fun TOME tor.)
April 2013: After it became known the chair of the supervisory board [Aufsichtsrat] of Germany’s richest and most successful soccer team, Bayern Munich, was under investigation for voluntarily reporting himself [Selbstanzeige] as having an insufficiently reported and taxed ~500 million euros in a Swiss bank account, there seem to remain some loose ends in his origin story for where the half billion came from*. Yet on 06 May 2013 Bayern Munich’s supervisory board voted not to accept Uli Hoeneß’s resignation as its head. Members of the supervisory board who supported Mr. Hoeneß at this meeting included: Herbert Hainer, C.E.O. of Adidas. Rupert Stadler, C.E.O. of Audi. Timotheus Höttges, chief of Finances and Controlling at top Bayern sponsor Deutsche Telekom. Martin Winterkorn, C.E.O. of Volkswagen. Edmund Stoiber (C.S.U.), former candidate for German chancellor in the C.D.U./C.S.U. party.
10 May 2013: Mr. Hoeneß is suing the responsible prosecutor’s office for being the source of the press’s discovery of the investigation into the mysterious half billion euros, in April 2013.
30 Jul 2013: Uli Hoeneß has been charged with alleged tax evasion. The Economic Crimes Chamber [Wirtschaftsstrafkammer] of the second Munich Landgericht [Münchener Landgericht II] must now decide whether it will allow the trial to proceed and whether to open the main trial. The decision is expected in late September 2013.
04 Aug 2013: The president of the German Soccer Association [Deutscher Fussballbund e.V., D.F.B.], Wolfgang Niersbach, declared his support for Uli Hoeneß.
07 Aug 2013: Stern.de report that an anonymous informant told the second state prosecutors office in Munich [Münchener Staatsanwaltschaft II] that Mr. Hoeneß’s untaxed millions are not limited to one account at the Swiss Vontobel bank (said by prosecutors to have contained 500 million Swiss francs but said by Mr. Hoeneß in April 2013 never to have exceeded around 15 to 20 million euros, tops). Stern.de reported the informant said Mr. Hoeneß’s Vontobel account had balances consistently [“durchgehend“] exceeding 500 million Swiss francs in years before 2008 and also supplied information about stock dealings and transactions involving numbered accounts at three other Swiss banks: Crédit Suisse, Julius Bär and the Zürcher Kantonalbank.
The whistleblower said Deutsche Telekom stock with which Mr. Hoeneß participated in so-called dividend stripping was also involved.
04 Nov 2013: Mr. Hoeneß will have to “answer before a court” after all, starting ~10 Mar 2014. Landgericht Munich II’s “Economic Chamber” [Wirtschaftskammer] announced it will allow trial of charges against him of tax evasion and providing inaccurate answers. His Selbstanzeige earlier this year “contained errors.”
Frank Bräutigam, ARD tagesschau.de’s excellent legal correspondent, said the trial will evaluate the correctness of the Selbstanzeige (timeliness, completeness and accuracy). If the court determines that the Selbstanzeige was not properly executed, next it must decide how much money was improperly handled and what penalties could be imposed.
The Bayern Munich football club’s supervisory board reconfirmed that they want to retain Mr. Hoeneß as president of the club.
14 Mar 2014: Uli Hoeneß’s trial for 3.5 million euros of tax evasion was this week. In the two weeks before the trial started on Monday, he apparently gave prosecutors 50,000, some said 70,000, pages of Vontobel bank account statements previously withheld. On Monday he surprised reporters by announcing he’d actually not paid 18 million euros tax, but this was the ultimate number, no more revelations. On Tuesday, an auditor testified that the amount was actually 27 million. He was found guilty of 28.5 million euros in tax evasion and sentenced to 3.5 years, which will probably be in an open prison. On Friday, he said he would not appeal. The prosecutors may still decide to appeal. Uli Hoeneß resigned as president of the FC Bayern Munich soccer club and chair of FC Bayern Munich Inc.’s supervisory board.
Mr. Hoeneß’s salary tended to be about 10 million euros per year. The Vontobel account never had more than 150 million euros in it at one time.
(BY beh HALT oong.)
* Mr. Hoeneß said he netted 500 million euros between 2000 and 2012 by compulsively playing the stock market starting with a 10-million-euro combination gift/loan in 2000 from a now-deceased friend, a former C.E.O. of Adidas.
“Prosecuting authority,” prosecutors’ office.
The Bavarian state bank BayernLB (Bayerische Landesbank), owned by the state of Bavaria and the Sparkasse banks (the largest German public bank), bought the Austrian bank HypoGroup Alpe Adria in 2007 and lost billions of euros as a result. On 07 Aug 2013 the Munich regional court Münchener Landgericht I announced it would not permit prosecution of charges brought against the entire Landesbank’s management board [Vorstand] while criticizing that charges hadn’t been brought against members of the higher-level overseeing “administrative board” [Verwaltungsrat], which gave permission for the sale. The supervisory Verwaltungsrat contained important C.S.U. politicians who might have been thus being protected by Bavarian prosecutors, the Bavarian judges imputed. Bavarian opposition parties S.P.D. and Freie Wähler [Free Voters] had filed complaints against BayernLB Verwaltungsrat members and state ministers Erwin Huber, Günther Beckstein and Kurt Faltlhauser plus some less important C.S.U. politicians for breach of trust of bank assets [“Veruntreuung von Bankvermögen”] in the Austrian acquisition, according to Süddeutsche.de and tagesschau.de.
BayernLB’s management board allegedly cited a falsely inflated purchase price to the supervisory administrative board, so theoretically criminal charges should be brought against management board members, according to tagesschau.de. But the Munich Landgericht I court denied prosecution of that on 07 Aug 2013, citing the latitude enjoyed by managers in negotiating sales. This allegedly angered Bavarian state prosecutors. Also angered by accusations they’d protected C.S.U. politicians by not bringing charges against members of the higher-level Verwaltungsrat [administrative board] supposed to monitor or do “controlling” of BayernLB’s management board, Bavarian state prosecutors responded that the management board members had failed to adequately inform the higher-level administrative board; indeed the supervisory Verwaltungsrat was deliberately defrauded with malice aforethought (“vorsätzlich arglistig getäuscht”) by members of the BayernLB management board, in the opinion of the prosecutors. The supervisory administrative board that okayed the deal consisted of people from the Bavarian state government (ruled by the C.S.U. since 1946) headed by Edmund Stoiber and people from the Sparkasse banks.
The German bank manager Bernie Ecclestone was accused of paying a bribe to was a member of BayernLB’s management board [Vorstand], not supervisory board [Verwaltungsrat].
In its 07 Aug 2013 announcement in the ongoing discussion about whom to prosecute at BayernLB, the Munich Landgericht noted that this sale of banks between state governments was partially a political act. But because no one could have foreseen events, the Munich Landgericht was only going to look into the BayernLB management board’s criminal culpability in overpayment of an additional 75 million euros lost by subsequently purchasing additional shares, and not into the BayernLB management board’s overpayment of 550 million euros in the 1.7-billion-euro deal as the prosecutors originally proposed.
Prosecutors filed a complaint about the Landgericht’s decision not to allow a criminal trial against the BayernLB management board for the lost half billion; the Munich higher regional court [Oberlandesgericht] “will now have to decide the dispute taking place in its own house.”
Before Bavaria bought it, according to the Guardian.co.uk, the Carinthian state government-owned Hypo Alpe Adria “acted as financier” for the horrifying Jörg Haider, charismatic leader of a terrifying populist racist Austrian political party that promoted hatreds in order to surf them to power. WienerTageszeitung.at wrote that HGAA had had to help support Haider’s Carinthian state government’s “patronage policies” [“gönnerhafte Politik”]. The recent Munich Landgericht I court decision about how to prosecute the Bavarian side did allow prosecution of an accusation that Jörg Haider, Kärntner Landeshauptmann [“Captain of Carinthia”] at the time of the sale, received a soccer stadium sponsorship bribe from BayernLB (2.5 million euros). An Austrian website also talked about overpayment for the expert opinion of an Austrian tax adviser associated with Haider as another possible bribe to him from the deal (6 million euros for six pages). No details found yet about money improperly funneled to Haider & Co. before the sale, when his party controlled the government that owned the bank.
According to the Manager-Magazin.de article, a 2007 audit by the Österreichische Nationalbank [Austrian National Bank] reported that Hypo Alpe Adria was shuffling fake capital around as early as spring 2006 to hide its losses, through obscurant Liechtenstein entities, and selling stock to itself to create the illusion of solvency. There was no Austrian regulatory follow-up on the audit report apparently.
BayernLB’s purchase of HGAA has already sparked multiple trials, with more to come. For example, Manager-Magazin.de wrote that Munich prosecutors initiated a criminal trial against BayernLB management board members on 05 May 2011—that trial hasn’t started yet—and BayernLB sued its former management board members for 200 million euros in damages in a civil trial that actually did start, on 19 Jun 2012. An Austrian criminal trial sentenced a Carinthian state party chief to five years in prison on 10 Oct 2012 for diverting money from the sale to his political party (a state government coalition partner with Jörg Haider’s FPÖ). The current head of the Bavarian C.S.U. party, Horst Seehofer, is to testify in Vienna before a commercial court [Handelsgericht Wien] about the schlamassel. When they gave Hypo Alpe Adria back to the country of Austria, did BayernLB sign a paper saying they would not sue for damages? The Vienna trial is about 3 billion euros of Bavarian taxpayer money that now-nationalized Hypo Alpe Adria does not want to return; this would be in addition to the 3.7 billion euros Bavaria already spent to bail out the bank.
Update on 24 Oct 2013: Bavarian prosecutors won their appeal! The Munich Oberlandesgericht overturned the Munich Landgericht’s decision and will be allowing full prosecution of ex-C.E.O. Werner Schmidt and six of the seven members of the BayernLB management board on the counts sought, for breach-of-trust losses of 550 million euros in the 2007 purchase of Hypo Alpe Adria in addition to the 75 million lost on extra HGAA stock bought after the purchase.
Update on 27 Feb 2014: Three former management board members of Hypo Alpe Adria were given prison sentences by an Austrian court for granting investors buy-back guarantees and thus, the court said, costing the bank several million euros. The Klagenfurt court [Schöffensenat] said they held back important information when they sold Hypo Alpe Adria to Bavarian state bank BayernLB. A 2.5-million-euro dividend they issued was also not in order, the court said.
In this breach of trust trial, former management board member Josef Kircher was sentenced to three years, some of which was changed to probation because he was willing to testify. Former management board member Siegfried Grigg was sentenced to three and a half years. The Flick Foundation was fined 600,000 euros. Former H.A.A. C.E.O. Wolfgang Kulterer was sentenced to one year. He has already been sentenced to several years in a related Hypo Alpe Adria matter in January 2014, when he admitted having kept mumm about side agreements. Former Hypo manager Tilo Berlin is also a defendent in the breach of trust trial but was unable to appear for health reasons, delaying resolution.
(ON clog ah beh HEARD ah.)
Taxpayer-funded performance-enhancing-drug research.
In 2011 historians from Humboldt and Münster universities finished an 800-page report called “Doping in Germany from 1950 to the present” that remained unpublished supposedly because of data privacy concerns for the many West Germans named in it. It found that a West German institute called the Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaft (“German Institute for Sports Science,” B.I.Sp.), founded in 1970, systematically with politician support researched performance-enhancing substances. At the time the researchers said they were trying to prove substances did not enhance performance, but when they found one that did it was then widely administered to West German athletes. The sports medicine physicians conducting the human experiments and administering the substances to athletes said West German politicians explicitly wanted this. This was not a reaction to East German doping; it was done in parallel, starting as far back as the 1950’s even before the East-West Germany conflict, according to sport historian professor and pundit Giselher Spitzer.
Athletes were not told about side effects. The substances were given to children, “to test age effects.” Pro soccer players doped too (pervitin and then amphetamines), though apparently there were few sports not involved. Epo experiments were done as early as 1988. The scientists worked with national sports groups to help doped athletes elude capture in competition testing. Sponsoring money for the performance-enhancement research was considerable, flowing from the West German government and from private sports associations mostly to the Freiburg university hospital but also to sports medicine centers in Cologne and other cities.
The Humboldt University sports history study was ordered by the Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaften (B.I.Sp.) and sponsored by the Deutscher Olympischer SportBund. Its findings were kept unpublished for two years. After an 03 Aug 2013 Süddeutsche Zeitung article about the report a spokesperson for the Deutscher Olympischer SportBund said the failure to publish and resulting ongoing exclusion from public discussion and review was the researchers’ decision. On 05 Aug 2013 the B.I.Sp. finally published it and apparently Hans-Peter Friedrich (C.S.U.)’s Interior Ministry, which the B.I.Sp. is still a part of, also released it.
What we still don’t know: Before the evaluation, many important files were apparently shredded. Files requested in 1991 from B.I.Sp. to use to answer a parliamentary inquiry from the S.P.D. party turned out to have been destroyed, for example (and apparently the B.I.Sp. started the Humboldt University research project at about the same time??). Not all the relevant original files were apparently registered in a-or-the federal archive [“Bundesarchiv“?], so historians will be unable to find them there due to that library guerrilla move. The Deutscher Fussball-Bund reportedly set unacceptable conditions for access to its archives, so information they contain did not flow into the study. Joseph Blätter’s international soccer organization Fifa only recently (2011) stopped destroying World Cup soccer players’ test samples only three months after collection. People are upset that anonymity and lack of prosecution have been apparently enjoyed by West German sinners but not East German. The study was sponsored to investigate only up until the year 1990. Apparently the published version is missing several hundred pages.
Solutions: Justice ministers from several German states are demanding a federal-level anti-doping law making the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs a criminal offense; this has been under discussion for years now. The president of the Deutscher Leichtathletik-Verband called for more such research to prevent all West German athletes from that era from being suspected of having illegally taken performance-enhancing drugs. Also, as news anchor Claus Kleber pointed out, because the actors have never admitted culpability we can’t know whether the unethical practices were stopped. They might still be going on today.
(Mitt SHTOY ah mitt ellll n geh FUR dirt teh DOPINGK for shoong.)
“The Ball is Round.” Famous soccer quotes from Sepp Herberger.
(Dare BOLL isst ROOND.)
“A Match Lasts 90 Minutes.”
(Eye n SHPEEL dao err t NOYN tsig min OO ten.)
“After the Match is Before the Match.”
(NOCHH dame shpeel isst FORE dame shpeel.)
“Goal line technology.” After considering options such as attaching magnetic chips and/or accelerometers to game balls, FIFA has decided to test the use of 14 HD cameras in the July 2013 Confederations Cup to verify ref calls on whether soccer balls have crossed the line into the goal box. When the technological request for proposals was issued, FIFA estimated the new equipment would cost about EUR 200,000 per stadium, whatever they ended up using.
(TOOOOOR lean ian TECHH nick.)
“Shponsoring tickets,” a new kind of money-equivalent created by big soccer and big stadiums. Shponsoring tickets nominally worth hundreds of thousands of euros can be printed for each large soccer game, apparently.
After auditors found valuable sheafs of these lying around in soccer club safes, German companies started developing accounting procedures to document gifted sports tickets. Now when German companies are caught in some other impropriety people point out it’s ridiculous that … isn’t being tracked as carefully as soccer tickets.
Update on 07 Mar 2014: Reporting on the Ukrainian crisis mentioned that Germany’s biggest soccer sponsorship is Deutsche Telekom’s, for the team Bayern Munich, and the second-biggest is Gazprom, for Schalke 04.
(SHPON soar ingk CAW ten.)
“Recommunalization,” remunicipalization. A twenty-first-century response to the twentieth century’s privatization trend. After experimenting with water privatization for over a century, for example, many French towns are now reacquiring privatized, for-profit utilities and turning them back into not-for-profit services.
This accords with the ideas of the great groundbreaking French engineer Henry Darcy who experimented with pipe, sand filtration and spring sources to create a technologically and socially advanced water system for the town of Dijon in 1840, a project he then carefully documented in a beautiful book published in 1856. My Texas colleague Patricia Bobeck translated it into English, including the following:
“As much as possible, one should favor the free drawing of water because it is necessary for public health. A city that cares for the interest of the poor class should not limit their water, just as daytime and light are not limited.”
[The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon, 42.]
Austerity measures may be increasing pressure on governments of financially troubled EU countries to sell off their water and other utilities such as Greece’s recent sale of 33% of the Greek state lottery and gambling organizer OPAP to the Czech-led consortium Emma Delta for 712 million euros (of which 60 million was dividends on profits from 2012). Wikipedia says OPAP is Europe’s largest betting firm and as of 2008 the Greek government only owned 34% of it.
(RAY com you noll iz EAR oong.)
“Lots of money,” an “unimaginable fortune,” but no one knows how much yet. The Münchener Abendzeitung reported reports, firmly denied, of account balances totalling several hundred million euros. Uli Hoeneß, the president of German soccer’s version of the NY Yankees, FC Bayern Munich, submitted a Selbstanzeige in January 2013 for unpaid taxes on funds in one or more Swiss bank accounts and has already paid an initial lump sum of about six million in unpaid taxes. He said he didn’t report himself before January 2013 because he was betting the tax agreement with Switzerland would be ratified that provided amnesty, anonymity and a low tax rate for “tax sinners.” Tagesschau.de reports that it’s still unclear where the untaxed monies came from, whether from his bratwurst factory or from other sources.
ZDF heute journal found footage of Hoeneß on talk shows such as the charming Günther Jauch’s in autumn 2012 recommending low taxes for rich Germans because otherwise, he said, they would move to Austria, Switzerland or “who knows where.”
CSU chair Horst Seehofer confirmed on Saturday, 20 Apr 2013, at a CSU meeting in a Munich Hofbräuhaus cellar, that the district attorney was looking into the matter. The CSU had been going to propose Hoeneß as a political candidate, and he probably would have been confirmed.
The Münchener Abendzeitung commented on 20 Apr 2013:
“The question remains whether Hoeneß can now hope for the same support from the Bavarian state government as Franz Beckenbauer, to whom Bavarian finance minister Ludwig Huber once gave tips about tax flight into Switzerland while Huber was still in office?”
Achtung: Focus Magazin’s publisher is on the board of FC Bayern Munich.
(FAHN tossed ill ee own en.)
“When each person does a little bit less, it’s no longer enough.” One attempt to explain how Germany could be beating Sweden 4-0 after 60 minutes on 16 Oct 2012, and yet the match could end in a tie. That WC qualification match was the first time the German national soccer team ever wasted a four-goal lead. (Four elegant goals.)
Swedish headlines the next day included the epic “DANKE! DANKE! DANKE! DANKE!”
(Venn yay der eye n bissell venniger lye stett, don rye kt doss nicked mare ow! ss.)
The wonderful Michael Ballack is ending his career as a soccer player. For years he stitched the German national team together, always managing to be where he was needed at both ends of the field. The crucial pass, the defensive assist. He was amazing. The most impressive player. I’m just waiting and biding my time until he becomes the national trainer.
“Leadership wolves and winner guys.” Accusations made before yesterday’s loss to Argentina that players like these are not representing in Germany’s national soccer team. Germany’s national trainer said such accusations were not helpful and fatigued him slightly.
(LIGHT vulf eh oond ZEE gerrr toop en.)
“V men” are police snitches in certain milieux. For a long time I thought V in this case stood for Verfassungsschutz, but apparently it stands for Verbindungs– or Vertrauens-? In the latter case, the paid informants in the German right-wing scene who have supplied questionable information to the police might actually be called “confidence men.”
Update on 4 Sept. 2012: The Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz office apparently ignored its own rules for selecting V-people. German constitutional law requires V-people to be neither leaders nor criminals, “yet V-men in Thuringia often fulfilled both those criteria,” according to Der Spiegel. Furthermore, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz paid for lawyers, cars, computers and workshop rent for these guys, “keeping the neonazis mobile” as left-wing Thuringian state parliamentarian Martina Renner (Die Linke) described it.
Update on 15 Sept. 2012: Not only police kept V-people. German foreign intelligence, domestic intelligence (state and federal), military intelligence, and police (state and federal) paid V-people for information. Vertrauen means trust or confidence. As Spiegel-Online noted in this excellent article about one of the Berlin police’s neonazi V-men, it is not always clear in these situations who is trusting whom.
Update on 4 Nov 2012: The new head of German Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, has called for a central national register of all V-people. This must replace the current system wherein each German state pays its own set of informants and is not required to share information about them, he told the Welt am Sonntag. “Central knowledge is indispensable for effective management of the federal and state V-people.”
Update on 8 Dec 2012: The central list of V-people will go active by 1 Jan 2013.
Update on 4 Feb 2013: There is an argument in the committee investigating the band of neonazi serial killers because a government office refused to have a V-man connected to the cell, “Thomas R.,” appear to testify before the committee. Apparently the bureaucrats running the V-people were and remain also assured complete secrecy and apparent immunity.
Update on 5 Feb 2013: Europol used V-people in its investigation of the UEFA and FIFA soccer betting scandal that so far has turned up at least 380 manipulated games around the world between 2008 and 2011, with profits of at least 8 million euros in Germany alone. In this investigation Europol also accessed phone conversations and evaluated 13,000 emails.
Update on 27 Apr 2013: As part of their 2013 election platform, the Green Party wants to get rid of all V-people.
Update on 23 May 2013: The federal + states commission investigating the investigation of the neonazi serial killers published its highly critical report, which included a recommendation to continue the option of immunity for V-people who commit crimes. Saying such crimes were scarcely avoidable, commission spokesman and Munich attorney Prof. Eckhart Müller indicated the immunity was actually for the government officials paying the V-people, to keep these authorities from being prosecuted under German laws against incitement to crime.
Update on 16 Jul 2014: After a V-Mann testified this week that he gave his snitching fees to the neonazi bank-robbing cell of serial killers—he was available to testify inter alia because he’s been arrested for sexual abuse of a child—someone leaked a 1997 letter to ZDF in which the federal police firmly warn Verfassungsschutz about V-people, saying some were in “exposed positions” and fearing there could be an “incendiary effect.” By this I think they mean now that the authorities were paying neonazi leaders good money, though it sounds like at the time these words could mean they were worried about their sources’ safety. They think now there were seven paid V-people who were in contact with the neonazi serial killers. The 1997 letter mentions two of them by name.
In 1998 the authorities found a bomb-making workshop used by the cell, with one of the terrorist’s contacts list in it. The list was never used by investigators—perhaps because it contained the names of many V-people?
The Thuringian state legislature has passed stricter rules for the V-people paid by Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz. The income cannot be the source’s livelihood. Also, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz has been made a part of the state’s interior ministry; previously, it was independent.
(F OW! mon. F OW! frrr ow!.)
“Support payment,” “support installment payment.” At least two “high animals” at FIFA received bribe payments totalling 11 million euros, part of a bribe of 100 million euros given to FIFA by a media company in the 1990’s. Sepp Blatter knew about it. At the time, this was not illegal in Switzerland, but it is illegal now. The two known officials (a guy and his son-in-law) were prosecuted and found technically innocent. FIFA then made a seven-figure “support payment” “to keep the files in the prosecution’s filing cabinet,” which is why we’re only finding out about this now, thanks to journalist Jean François Tanda’s successful lawsuit to obtain access to the court files.
(Oon ter sh TOOTS oongs on tsoll oong.)
The “gamemaker.” Someone like Michael Ballack, who sets up the plays. Manages to be in the right places at the right times.
“Schalke top.” Both the name of the Schalke 04 stadium and the machine-like passing system Schalke 04 invented that works the ball down the field in triangles of players. Wikipedia says it is called “one-touch football” in English and based on a Scottish short-passing system.
(SHAWL kehr CRY zell.)
“Fritz Walter weather.” Rainy. Named after 1954 Germany captain Fritz Walter who was apparently a bit of a mudder.
(Fritz VOLL tah VET tah.)
“Summer fairy tale.” What happens in a year when your country’s soccer team wins an international Cup.
(ZOM er MARE shen.)
“The most beautiful thing of secondary importance in the world.” Some people think this is sex, some soccer. N.B.: What if you’re in outer space?
(Dee SHUN steh NABE en ZOCK eh der VELT.)
“The center of the space.” A mysterious concept in soccer. Commentators often mention it when they have nothing else to say, much as US sports commentators praise confidence. (MITTA dess ROWMZ.)
“The flying swallow.” A particularly dramatic soccer dive.
(FLEE gen da SHVOL bah.)
“The swallow.” Taking a dive in soccer and pretending to be hurt. Like a graceful acrobatic bird.