Lovesick football fan to blame for mass brawl in Linz

A football fan who had been jilted by an ex-lover is thought to have started a fight between football supporters and a group of asylum seekers earlier this month in Linz, according to a police investigation.

Lovesick football fan to blame for mass brawl in Linz
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police said a known football fan saw his ex-girlfriend drinking with an Iraqi asylum seeker in a bar in Linz on September 9th. He berated her for leaving him and his friends started shouting insults at the pair, such as “refugees not welcome”. Police had to intervene after more than 20 people started brawling in the streets. At least one person was injured.

A week later the football fan and his mates went to a restaurant where he knew his ex was eating with her new boyfriend and a group of Iraqi friends. The group was denied entry to the restaurant and so they started a fight outside. Around 30 people were involved this time, using belts, bottles, and knives as weapons. At least three people were injured. Police were only able to break up the fight by using pepper spray.

Police say they are still investigating and have not charged anyone but believe that they have the situation under control and are keeping the hooligans under surveillance to prevent further fights.

In a statement the Linzer-Athletik-Sport-Klub, also known LASK, sought to distance itself from the incidents, saying that “it does not believe that LASK fans are among those involved” and that “violence, discrimination and racism have no place” in sport.

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What is Vienna’s MA 35 doing to offer better service for immigrants in Austria?

The city of Vienna now has several new appointment slots for a 'first information meeting' for those wanting to apply for Austrian citizenship. Here's what you need to know.

What is Vienna's MA 35 doing to offer better service for immigrants in Austria?

The office for immigration and citizenship in Vienna, MA 35, is known for long waiting periods, delays and even mistakes being made in applications. It has recently received renewed criticisms as new appointments for Austrian citizenship were not open until mid-2023.

Things got even worse, and applicants now have to wait until October 2023 to get the first appointment. Only after this meeting will they receive another date (sometimes also a year later) to submit the documents asked. 

READ ALSO: ‘Insensitive and inefficient’: Your verdict on Vienna’s immigration office MA 35

Green politician Aygül Berivan Aslan said the reform of MA 35 had “failed”. She said she welcomed the SPÖ’s push towards simplifying access to citizenship but felt that “theory and practice do not match”. Speaking in the Viennese parliament, she introduced a motion for a six-month evaluation of the office.

Aslan also proposed that in the case of delays of more than six months, citizenship costs should be waived for applicants. 

Stadt Wien service screenshot

How bad is the situation?

Not only do people have to wait months for a first talk and then months to submit documents, but once their part is done, the wait is not over. There are currently 3,800 procedures pending for more than half a year in the MA 35, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Integration Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) said.

He justified delays saying that the number of applications had risen by around 30 percent his year in Vienna – only last month, there were 600 appointments booked. 

“The sharp increase can be explained by the eligibility of refugees from 2015 to apply for citizenship as well as by uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine”, he said.

READ ALSO: ‘Bring everything you have’: Key tips for dealing with Vienna’s immigration office MA 35

He added that the goal would need to be “simplifying the procedures nationwide”. However, Wiederkehr also said there were reforms still being implemented in the MA 35.

Wiederkehr said: “On the part of the city, there are ongoing staff increases at MA 35. The training of the employees is so complex that it takes about a year.” 

“In addition to the increase in staff, there was an analysis to optimise some work processes, as well as intensive training. Digitalisation is also being accelerated”, he added.