June 24, 2018 / 5:37 PM / in 4 months

Soccer-FIFA opens proceedings against hot-headed German team officials

VATUTINKI, June 24 (Reuters) - FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against two German team officials who stormed towards the Sweden bench gesticulating and clapping after the defending World Cup champions’ last-gasp Group F victory on Saturday.

Team media officer Ulrich Voigt and a German FA (DFB) employee in charge of the DFB office for the national team, Georg Behlau, charged towards the Sweden bench pumping their fists when Toni Kroos’ stoppage-time goal gave Germany a 2-1 victory.

The Swedish coaching staff and reserve players stood up and immediately confronted them and shoved them back towards their technical area. The incident almost escalated into a wider physical altercation after Swedish officials pushed Behlau away.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against the German officials Ulrich Voigt and Georg Behlau for incidents at the end of the match Germany vs. Sweden,” FIFA said in a statement.

The incident was caught on camera and quickly went viral while also promoting angry reactions from the Swedish coach and players. Sweden’s Emil Forsberg labelled the Germans’ behaviour “disgusting.”

Germany’s coach Joachim Loew said he was not aware of the incident.

The DFB refused to comment on the matter when repeatedly contacted by Reuters on Sunday. It issued an apology to the Swedes on Twitter late on Saturday, but it has not said whether it will take any action against its own employees.

The DFB, bidding to host Euro 2024, also did not say whether it had stripped the pair of their accreditation or if they will be part of their pitchside team at their final Group F game, against South Korea on June 27.

Germany, World Cup winners in 2014, lost their group opener against Mexico. Their late victory over the Swedes threw them a lifeline for a spot in the next round. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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