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Tabloids create England-Germany tension around football matches

Date 5 Sep 2007
Author The Editor

A Durham University expert has suggested this week that Anglo-German tensions in the run-up to major sporting events are often the result of tabloid interference. Dr Christian Schweiger, of the Department of Government and International Affairs, put forward the idea that the longstanding England-Germany rivalry now exists only in the press.

Dr Schweiger suggests that any antagonism that existed between Britain and Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War has gradually disappeared in recent years. However, according to Dr Schweiger's work, when events such as football matches between England and Germany occur, the tabloid press artificially create Anglo-German tensions that are projected into the public domain.

Dr Schweiger said: "The role of the tabloid media is the main aspect behind Anglo-German tensions. The majority of British people today, especially younger generations, perceive German as a partner country, no longer holding any particular resentments about Germany and its people.

"The obsessive anti-European sentiment expressed by the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s allowed the British tabloids to use increasingly hostile and often xenophobic language against the UK's continental European partners, particularly France and Germany. This legacy has lingered on and becomes particularly bad during football competitions."

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