Early Doors

‘First Hitler, then Fritzl, now Red Bull Salzburg’ – Newspaper’s grovelling apology for awful slur

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Hitler, Red Bull Salzburg and Josef Fritzl

Sweden's biggest newspaper has made a hasty, grovelling apology after one of its writers compared an Austrian football team to Adolf Hitler and Josef Fritzl.

Aftonbladet football writer Ronnie Sandahl made the outrageous comparison in a preview article ahead of Red Bull Salzburg's match against Malmo in the play-offs for the Champions League group stages:

"Austria has not only given us Josef Fritzl and Adolf Hitler. There is also Red Bull Salzburg, the most hated football club of our time.

“When they play each other in the two decisive Champions League games, people from all over the world will be support the Swedes.”

The piece sparked outrage in Austria among fans of the club, understandably so given that Sandahl had compared them to the Austrian-born dictator whose Nazi regime slaughtered millions of people, and the infamous monster who kept his own daughter imprisoned for 24 years, raping her hundreds of times and fathering several children by her.

It wasn't just Red Bull fans who were angry, however: the Guardian reports that the whole nation rose up in fury at the tabloid's crass and outrageous comments, with Austrian FA chief Leo Windtner calling it an "unbelievably thoughtless comparison... directed against the whole nation."

Aftonbladet's editor-in-chief contacted Red Bull Salzburg personally, sending a message "in which he profusely apologises in the name of the paper and distances himself from these words... for us the matter is closed."

The matter might be closed for the club; but let's just say that Sandahl might struggle getting his press accreditation approved for the foreseeable future...

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