Political disputes have overshadowed the appearance of the national team at the World Cup. Did the Ministry of the Interior and the DFB agree on protests? A dinner could fuel speculation.
The DFB and the Federal Ministry of the Interior have recently publicly emphasized a disagreement over the German protests against the World Cup host country Qatar. But a joint dinner of the team leaders with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser raises questions. According to research by t-online national coach Hansi Flick, sports director Oliver Bierhoff and DFB President Bernd Neuendorf met the minister on the evening before the opening game against Japan. Were there any agreements between the association and politicians?
Tie in the stands
The stumbling block is the much-criticized football World Cup in Qatar – and now the protests by the DFB team and the interior minister. In response to the repression of sexual minorities in the Gulf state and as a sign of human rights, the team originally wanted to wear the so-called “One Love” armband – which was already a compromise so as not to dupe the host country and FIFA too much with the rainbow flag.
However, when Fifa threatened significant sanctions, the DFB and other national associations involved gave in and refrained from protesting. Instead, the national team posed with their mouths covered in the group photo for the opening game against Japan to express their displeasure at the FIFA ban. According to the players, there had also been considerable discussions in the team about this form of protest. At the same time, Interior Minister Faeser appeared in the stands with the “One Love” armband.
DFB criticized Faeser, Faeser criticized Völler
It is still controversial whether the political debates also had an impact on the sporting performance – the team was eliminated in the preliminary round. Afterwards, DFB director Bierhoff had to resign. His successor Rudi Völler criticized Faeser for their protest action at the weekend. She “should have left one or the other,” he said in a press conference. DFB President Neuendorf emphasized with regard to Faeser’s bandage protest: “That was in no way agreed with us.”
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The scandal between the association and the ministry comes at an amazing time. For a few days, t-online has had correspondence between the DFB and the ministry from the time shortly before the start of the World Cup. In it, a dinner between the DFB leadership and Faeser in the team transfer hotel in Doha is agreed for the night before the Japan game. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed on Friday at the request of t-online: Both DFB President Neuendorf and the top team with Flick and Bierhoff took part. However, it denies that forms of protest were discussed.
“Gestures by the team were not discussed in discussions before and during the World Cup, either by the DFB or by the BMI,” said a spokesman. “The BMI respects the autonomy of sport and does not make any recommendations.” However, the minister’s latest statements cast doubt on the fact that there were no agreements at all.
Weeks before the World Cup, she had visited Qatar with Neuendorf, among other things, so as not to burden the team with political events during the tournament. In response to the new criticism from Völler and Neuendorf, the minister countered in an interview with the “FAZ” that Völler should “not do Fifa’s work” and further: “Of course I had the ‘One Love’ bandage from German football – Bund. From who else?”