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German hockey captain calls for greater professionalism in the sport

Europe
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Frankfurt (dpa) - The captain of the German men‘s hockey team, Moritz Fuerste, warned Sunday that the sport in his country needed greater professionalism if it wanted to keep up internationally.

In comments made in Rio to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Fuerste noted how the competition was getting tougher in a sport that Germany has long been a power on the international stage.

"If we keep on going like we have, then in ten years‘ time German hockey won‘t be competitive," the 31-year-old two-times Olympic champion said. It will not only be more difficult to keep up, but also impossible, he warned.

Fuerste, whose team has reached the quarter-finals in Rio in its bid for a third straight Olympic title after Beijing and London, called for more support from the federal government, something that is actually needed for all the Olympic sports.

"The players, the athletes need a basic security," he said, arguing for such support. "Otherwise it will become increasingly difficult to attact and keep players for amateur sports."

Fuerste, a native of Hamburg, earns his living in a sports marketing job. Besides twice winning gold at the Olympics with the German team, he has also won the world championship title in 2006 and the European championship twice, in 2011 and 2013.

Germany next plays against "black sticks" of New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the Rio games on Monday.

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