After the racist hostilities against Hertha professional Torunarigha, referee Osmers should have reacted differently, says Stefan Nestler. And the Berlin team could have sent a clear signal.

Racial hostility is not appropriate. Neither in football nor anywhere else. There can and should not be two opinions in a democratic state like Germany. Those cheeks of the cheek, the dark-skinned Hertha defender Jordan Torunarigha with monkey sounds from the stands in Gelsenkirchenshould take a look at the Basic Law. You don’t even need to read further than Article 3. Then they should be aware that their behavior is outside the basic democratic order. FC Schalke 04 as the host of the DFB Cup game is called on to follow the words “zero tolerance for incidents during the Hertha game” and to remove those responsible for the racist failures from its stands. And the German Football Association must not just go on the agenda now.

FIFA target not implemented

Players and coaches from Hertha BSC said that referee Harm Osmers and his assistants had drawn attention to the racist abuse against Torunarigha. Osmers only “took note of it,” said Hertha captain Niklas Stark. Since 2017, the world football association FIFA has urged all of its members to initiate the “three-step procedure” in such a case: After a racist incident, the referee should first interrupt the game and ask the stadium announcer to make an announcement. In the event of further incidents, he should temporarily send the teams to the cabins. If this does not work either, he has to stop the game. The reasoning of the DFB – Osmer did not react because the incident occurs in the second half,

No instinct

DW comment picture Stefan NestlerStefan Nestler, DW Sport

Instead, Osmers sent in the extension – as even the Schalke players registered – Torunarigha with yellow-red, who was badly affected by the racist insults. After Schalke’s Omar Mascarell pushed him roughly over the outer line, the young Hertha professional had rushed into Schalke’s coach David Wagner and angrily threw a crate of drinks onto the floor. A freak that was probably due to Torunarigha’s emotional state of emergency and might not have happened to him under normal circumstances. It would have required instinct instead of an uncompromising interpretation of the rules – especially since Osmers was informed about the ape sounds from the stands against Torunarigha. That Schalke also succeeded after the dismissal against the decimated Herthanians gives the whole thing a sporting relevance. However, this should not be in the foreground in this context.

Referee Osmers could have given a clear signal even before the dismissal and should also have done so that racist failure like those against Torunarigha are not accepted as a “minor offense”. Hertha BSC has to be asked why the team did not leave the pitch as the U16 team of the club recently did in a similar case. That too would have been a clearer sign than Torunarigha’s expressions of solidarity in the aftermath of the game.


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