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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 February 2007, 17:51 GMT
German football games called off
President of German Football Federation Theo Zwanziger
Theo Zwanziger: 'Gesture of solidarity'
All lower league football matches have been called off in the southern German state of Saxony this week.

The move came after 800 hooligans attacked police last weekend during a Lokomotive Leipzig game, injuring 39 officers in running battles.

Five people were arrested and police are examining video footage.

Some Leipzig fans turned up at the stadium on Saturday to help repair damage, while players visited police stations and handed out flowers.

The head of the German Football Federation (DFB), Theo Zwanziger, had called for this weekend's ban "as a gesture of solidarity towards the police".

The violence broke out after Lokomotive Leipzig lost a regional cup game 3-0 to FC Erzgebirge Aue II.

Leipzig fans hurled paving stones and concrete blocks at police.

"What happened there within those five or 10 minutes is something I have never ever experienced before," a police dog handler told Reuters news agency.

"I'm surprised there weren't any dead."

Police accused the Leipzig club of failing to prevent fans bringing fireworks into the stadium.

The president of the club said that Lokomotive would "step up security and increase the number of security personnel and tighten control."

But, added Steffan Kubold, "please remember we're playing in the sixth league", and consequently lack resources for extensive security operations.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble said that football clubs should invest more in youth work, and build stronger links with fans.

An official from the national youth sporting body, Deutsche Sportsjugend, echoed the minister's call, and said that the ban on matches in Saxony unfairly affected many clubs who had nothing to do with the violence.

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