German chocolate wrappers spark race row ahead of EURO 2016

Italian confectionery group Ferrero has temporarily changed the pictures on its 'Kinder Schokolade' (Children Chocolate) in Germany to celebrate EURO 2016, which kicks off on 11 June (AEST) in France.

German chocolate wrappers

Source: Getty Images

Online debate has been raging in Germany as a result, with supporters of anti-Islam group Pegida criticising the confectioner's decision to print images of non-white soccer players on their chocolate bars instead of the usual picture of a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy.

The new packaging shows childhood pictures of players such as Jerome Boateng, son of a Ghanaian immigrant, and Ilkay Gundogan, whose parents were born in Turkey, and also includes white players such as Mario Goetze and Christoph Kramer.

On Twitter, the hashtag #Kinderschokolade was among those trending most in Germany on Wednesday.

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Ferrero's special edition packaging won praise from most users on the company's official Facebook page, but it also drew criticism from some Pegida supporters.

"They will stop at nothing. Are they really being sold like that? Or is that a joke?" the account operator of Pegida BW Bodensee wrote in a post next to a picture of chocolate boxes with Boateng and Gundogan as children.

Commenting on the post, one user wrote: "The team, there is nothing national about it anymore."

Germany won the FIFA World Cup in 1990 with an all-white team, while the squad that won in 2014 included Boateng as well as Sami Khedira, whose father is Tunisian, and Mesut Ozil, grandson of a Turkish "Gastarbeiter" (guest worker).

The account operator of Pegida BW Bodensee said he or she had received death threats since their post went viral on social media.

Reinhard Grindel, head of the German football association DFB, said the Pegida supporters' comments were distasteful.

"The German national soccer team is one of the best examples of successful integration and millions of people in Germany are proud of this team because it is as it is," Grindel said.

A spokeswoman for Ferrero Germany said the company was strictly against any form of discrimination or xenophobia.


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2 min read
Published 26 May 2016 at 11:19am
Source: RAW