German soccer player gets preliminary injunction against far-right party

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Patrick Owomoyela

Patrick Owomoyela, a soccer player in the German national team, has achieved a preliminary injunction against the far-right NPD over a pamphlet of the party depicting Owomoyela.

On the cover of the pamphlet concerning the upcoming Soccer World Cup in Germany, the NPD had shown the torso of a man wearing a jersey of the national soccer team with the number 25, which is the fixed number of Owomoeyela in the team. Below it were the words: "White. Not just the color of the jersey. For a real national team."

The court found that this portrayal "defames [Owomoyela] in an unbearable racist manner" and ordered that the NPD cease distributing the pamphlet under penalty of 250,000 €.

Owomoyela's lawyer and the German Football Association also intend to press criminal charges for defamation and hate speech against the party.

NPD spokesperson Klaus Beier said the reference to the word "white" was not related to skin color, but rather to a series of betting and corruption scandals in German soccer in recent months.

He also claimed that "neither the player nor his number were recognisable". However, although partially covered by the caption, the number 25 is easily identifiable on the image.