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Football | Germany

Sebastian Kehl © Action Images

Dortmund urge fans to end protests



German league and cup champions Borussia Dortmund have urged fans to end their protests against new security measures and support the team in Wednesday's cup match against Hanover.

In an open letter, signed by chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, sports director Michael Zorc, coach Juergen Klopp and captain Sebastian Kehl and posted on the club website on Tuesday, Dortmund said there should be no rift within the fan base and full support for the team.

The hardcore fans of all German first and second division clubs remained silent at games for the first 12 minutes as a sign of concern over the new security measures the league and the 36 professional clubs agreed upon on December 12.

Protests continued last weekend, with Dortmund fans remaining silent throughout Sunday's 3-1 victory at Hoffenheim. Further protests are reportedly planned at Wednesday's round of 16 cup game, Dortmund's last game of the year to be attended by a full house of 80 000.

"We know some fans are planning protests again for the game against Hanover. But we also know that many fans want to support us from the kick-off. We ask you not to allow trenches being dug within the fan community and between you and us," Dortmund said.

"We have accepted and respected your protests which arose in recent weeks from your fears and concerns. It was not easy playing football in these conditions.

"So we want to ask you, the BVB fans, to support us again tomorrow night. Noisily. Unconditionally. Patiently. The way we know you. Even for 120 minutes if necessary."

The fans have argued that the new rules - such as tighter stadium entry checks, possible reduction of ticket contingents for fans of visiting teams, and a crackdown on already outlawed flares - will spoil their stadium experience.

Politicians urged the clubs to step up their measures ahead of last week's meeting, in order to show more responsibility in the fight against growing fan violence in the country.

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