Many questions remain unanswered in the “One Love” debate. The German Football Association is subject to great constraints. The focus is on the captain’s armband, which was criticized a month ago.
No love for FIFA and the DFB: After the ban on the “One Love” captain’s armband for European World Cup participants by the world association, this and the German Football Association have been heavily criticized.
DFB President Bernd Neuendorf complained of a “demonstration of power” – his association had to face the allegation of alleged buckling. As the first sponsor, the retail giant Rewe drew consequences on Tuesday, he no longer advertises for the DFB during the World Cup. Other donors expressed their support.
What would be the immediate consequences if DFB captain Manuel Neuer wore the bandage?
Neuer could be cautioned by the referee with a yellow card. The bandage is part of the equipment and if there are defects in it, a player may not take part in the game, said experienced former FIFA referee Manuel Graefe on Twitter. “If he does it anyway, it would be illegal entering the field / unsportsmanlike conduct”, which should be punished with yellow. There is no yellow-red as a result because a player should not be punished twice for an offense – but in theory it is possible to abandon the game. This must “but always be proportionate,” wrote Gräfe.
The DFB justified the waiver after the FIFA threat by not wanting to fight the political issue on the backs of the players. In addition, it was the result of the consultations of all European associations. DFB media director Steffen Simon accused FIFA of “extreme blackmail” in an interview with Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday morning. According to a “Bild” report, the DFB is examining the way to the International Sports Court of Cass – but the game against Japan on Wednesday is probably too early for that.
Why doesn’t the DFB risk breaking with FIFA and, if necessary, even stricter sanctions?
DFB President Bernd Neuendorf stated that FIFA had made “no concrete statements” about what could happen, and that there was talk of “sporting sanctions”. They could then go further: A provoked game abandonment and the exclusion from the tournament that might even be associated with it could cost the association penalties in the double-digit million range. As stipulated in Section 5 of the competition regulations, there would also be a possibility of exclusion from upcoming FIFA World Cups – the DFB would miss out on further planned income. The federation passes on much of its money to the amateur federations.
How do you rate Neuendorf’s performance?
The 61-year-old chose clear words for his statement with DFB managing director Oliver Bierhoff (“demonstration of power”), but made it clear that he was still open to dialogue with FIFA. Neuendorf’s objectivity is rather rare in the football business, in the coming year the DFB President is to move up to the FIFA Council at Infantino’s table. Germany is bidding with the Netherlands and Belgium to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
It’s a very fine line to be critical enough but not slip too far in the FIFA circle and not be able to make a difference. In the media echo in Germany, Neuendorf was in a bad position on Monday and Tuesday – it was required to counteract this. Rewe justified its premature exit from the advertising measures – the contract ran until the end of the year – with criticism of FIFA. Volkswagen announced that there had been “many good developments” at the DFB in recent months. VW described FIFA’s behavior as “unacceptable”.
How did the players position themselves?
The national players have made a remarkable development in recent years and in some cases clearly campaigned for socio-political issues. Leon Goretzka has established himself as the voice of the DFB selection – last year his heart gesture went around the football world in front of the Hungarian fan block in the European Championship group game. “I think it’s generally the case that we’ve repeatedly addressed the grievances,” said Joshua Kimmich.
The players around Neuer now have to be measured by the announcement that they want to show “One Love” in any case. He seems so “that we have now overloaded them,” said ex-professional Thomas Hitzlsperger in the ARD “Tagesthemen”. “Only what they need to understand is that in the past they wanted to make their own mark, so they raised the level of expectation.” It will “take a while before you can credibly stand up for these values again”.
What message does the “One Love” pad convey?
Curiously, the multicolored bandage with the heart was sharply criticized from several sides after the presentation in September because it does not depict the symbolically powerful rainbow. Homosexuality is forbidden by law in Qatar. The DFB defended itself and pointed out that the “One Love” bandage is against any form of discrimination. The difference to FIFA’s “No Discrimination” captain’s armband no longer seems so great. He was “surprised” by the “One Love” decision, said Kimmich. Also because the bandage was critically eyed and “talked madly” a month ago. “Now I have the feeling it’s a strong sign for all people.”
What fronts have formed?
In essence, seven other European nations took part in the campaign in Qatar: Germany, England, Wales, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium. As the most prominent European nation at the World Cup, Spain was absent. Only the representative from Germany sits on the FIFA Council – Peter Peters is to be replaced by Neuendorf next year. In principle, the magnificent seven are already very attached to their own business within the European Football Union, which is in an ongoing dispute with FIFA. Neuendorf’s attempt to position himself as an Infantino critic shortly before the World Cup was new.
How confident is Gianni Infantino in his presidential chair?
The announcement by the DFB not to nominate the Swiss for the election in Kigali in March was not absolutely necessary. By the deadline, candidates had to present a job in football and endorsement from five national associations. An easy task for Infantino: The 52-year-old is receiving a lot of support, especially from Africa and Asia. There are 211 FIFA nations in total. There is no opponent and that would be the first requirement for an orderly replacement of the former UEFA general secretary. It would not be fair to send a hopeless candidate into the race, said von Neuendorf. And the fact that Infantino leaves Western criticism quite cold was shown most recently at his press conference on Saturday with the big sweeping attack against Europe.
What would an EU resolution on Thursday mean?
There was a foretaste of the possible World Cup resolution by the EU Parliament on Thursday on Monday evening. Members of parliament spoke of a “World Cup of shame”, some called for a boycott of the event, and during her speech a member of parliament wore the “One Love” armband in protest, which was actually intended to send a signal against discrimination. If parliament closed the World Cup in Qatar and condemned FIFA on Thursday, it would be a symbolic slap in the face for the organizers. The text is not legally binding. In addition to negative coverage of the World Cup, the ongoing criticism could also lead sponsors to conclude that the World Cup is becoming less attractive for them as an event for advertising. However, with the exception of Adidas, no sponsors of FIFA come from Europe anymore.
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