Germany: Hazing ritual reported at champion handball academy

Prosecutors in northern Germany have launched an investigation after reports of violent hazing rituals at a champion handball academy. The hazing was reportedly widespread at the youth academy for years.

Local prosecutors have opened an investigation into a suspected hazing ritual at the youth academy of handball championship team SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

The investigation follows media reports from Der Spiegel and NDRdescribing how youth handball players at the team's boarding school north of Hamburg underwent painful rituals.

"We can confirm that we have launched an investigation against unidentified people for assault," Flensburg public prosecutor Stephanie Gropp told Der Spiegel on Tuesday. "First, we must clarify the facts of the case."

Hazing reportedly widespread

According to the media reports, a youth handball player at SG Flensburg-Handewitt's academy was held down and forced to undergo a ritual in which his nipples were twisted with a wrench in early 2016.

He was subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and left the academy, giving up on the sport.

Hazing rituals have reportedly been widespread at the youth academy for years.

The academy management said they had not learned about these rituals until March 2016, at which point they addressed the incident and took precautionary action.

"The academy has nothing to do with these hazing rituals," SG Flensburg-Handewitt managing director Dierk Schmäschke told the SID news agency. "Nevertheless, we strongly condemn what has happened."

cw/cmk (dpa, SID)

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