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Bundesliga clubs need help to battle organised ultras

BERLIN (Reuters) - German football clubs will need the help of the league and the country's football association to handle trouble by "ultra" fans, club executives said, days after a friendly match in England had to be called off.

Premier League Burnley's pre-season match with Bundesliga club Hanover 96 on Saturday was abandoned "on police advice", Burnley said in a statement. Media reports said German fans threw seats and surged towards Burnley fans during the first half, shortly after Burnley took the lead.

"Ultra groups are being formed across the country and we will need to find answers," Cologne sports director Joerg Schmadtke said in a round table discussion in Duesseldorf on Monday.

"But we, the clubs, won't be able to do so, on our own. The DFB (the German Football Association) as the umbrella organisation and the DFL (the German Football League) need to get on board."

Dortmund CEO Hans Joachim Watzke said this week he believed "there is the tendency for ultras to come stronger together."

His team has had its share of fan trouble. It was given a 100,000-euro fine last season after its supporters attacked visiting RB Leipzig fans.

"The clubs can only deal with the groups around them and try to influence them," Cologne's Schmadtke said. But stiff fines from the DFB were not necessarily the solution, he said.

"The way the DFB is doing things at the moment, with these various sanctions, we will not stop the cycle. It is not improving the atmosphere."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Larry King)

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