June 07, 2016

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) The German football federation (DFB) has invited a former policeman who was brutally beaten by German soccer hooligans during the 1998 World Cup in France to the team's opening match of Euro 2016.

Daniel Nivel, whose head injuries were so severe he spent several weeks in a coma and never fully recovered, was attacked by several German fans in Lens on June 21, 1998.

Now the 61-year-old Nivel has been invited to be the DFB's guest of honor for Germany's Group C game against Ukraine in Lille on Sunday.

''He has been invited by the DFB and as far as I know he's coming,'' DFB spokesman Jens Grittner told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ''He wants to stay in the shadows though, he doesn't want to do any media work or anything like that. But he's coming.''

Nivel has been a guest of the German team before. In 2000 the DFB established the Daniel Nivel Foundation to investigate and attempt to curb violence in football, as well as to help victims.

Four of Nivel's attackers received prison sentences of between 3 1/2 and 10 years.

''It was Germans who did this. We should never forget it,'' former DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said on the federation's website.

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