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Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:25 UK

Hamburg until I die - and beyond

Hamburg cemetery
Fans will have to pay up to £1900 to be buried in Hamburg's cemetery

Hamburg have become the first football club in Europe to open their very own cemetery where fans can be buried next to the club's stadium.

The German side's HSV Arena stadium is clearly visible from the cemetery, which can cater for up to 500 fans.

"Many people think it's crazy and a strange idea," Hamburg board member Christian Reichert told German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

"But our plan is to capture worldwide attention with a serious venture."

Argentina's Boca Juniors are the only other club in the world who cater for lifelong fans in such a way, while in England fans often choose to have their ashes scattered on the hallowed turf in the stadium of their favourite club.

Hamburg supporters will pay up to £1900 for the privilege of being buried just a stone's throw from the stadium in a coffin decked out in the club's traditional blue-and-white colours and bearing the club's logo.

They can also choose to have their ashes buried in an official club urn, which will cost about £315.

Lars Rehder, the gardener of the Altona cemetery where Hamburg have reserved space for fans to be laid to rest, came up with the idea as many supporters were asking for plots due to its proximity with the stadium.

Hamburg urn
An official club urn will cost supporters about £315
The club will make no profit from the venture as all proceeds will go into the upkeep of the cemetery and Hamburg have granted licences to to allow four funeral directors in the city to bury Hamburg fans in official club coffins or urns.

The area is adorned with concrete goalposts and has been divided into three parts - stands, terraces and a VIP area.

Some fans have already reserved their place for when they pass away, but Reichert said he wants to keep some back for Hamburg's more elderly fans who have expressed an interest.

see also
Man City complete Kompany switch
22 Aug 08 |  Man City
Jol ready to begin Hamburg role
21 May 08 |  Europe

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