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German football federation under fire for covering anti-fascist sign

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HAMBURG - The German football federation has come under fire on social media for partly covering an anti-fascist sign at a stadium during the national team's training session there.

Joachim Loew's team trained Monday at the St. Pauli stadium, which for years has had a large sign across one of the stands reading "No Football for Fascists." The second-division Hamburg club has a large leftist fan base.

During the session, the fascist part of the sign was covered with a green cover so that only the words "No football" were visible.

The federation said it had "neutralized" the stadium to remove any advertising and political slogans.

The St. Pauli club said Tuesday it didn't understand the move and thought only advertising banners would be removed.

National team spokesman Jens Grittner said the federation understood the fans' anger and said "these are values with which we identify."

He said the federation opposed "any form of discrimination, racism and fascism." Germany plays Poland in a friendly later Tuesday at a different Hamburg stadium.

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