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Georg Koch ends career over flung firework

VIENNA (AFP) — Rapid Vienna’s German goalkeeper Georg Koch said Wednesday he was quitting the game as he is still suffering from the effects of a firecracker going off near him in a league match last August.

“I hoped right to the last that I could carry on playing but I must recognise there is no point,” Koch, 37, told German sports news agency SID.

He explained he is still suffering problems of hearing and balance following the incident when a fan threw a flare during the derby match with Austria Vienna. The firecracker hit his right ear and he had to be stretchered off.

“Two idiots are responsible for my retirement,” said Koch, adding that “such an act should have consequences.”

Koch rescinded his contract, which had been due to run to June, last January and returned to his home near Dusseldorf, having begun his career with local side Fortuna in 1991.

He also played for Bielefeld, Kaiserslautern and MSV Duisburg as well as Dynamo Zagreb, with whom he won a Croatian league title.

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