Comment – DFB buckles in the “One Love” bandage – the real mistake lies elsewhere

Imagine England captain Harry Kane wearing the ‘One Love’ armband at his side’s game against Iran today – and getting a yellow card before kick-off. Let’s imagine Manuel Neuer doing the same on Wednesday in Germany’s game against Japan. And in both cases, after the captain received a yellow card, the teams would have left the field in protest.

The Qatari rulers and their unofficial Minister of Propaganda Gianni Infantino would have been amazed. The “greatest show of all time”, as the FIFA boss calls the World Cup, was practically over before it had really started. Because a World Cup without the best European teams would be the greatest embarrassment of all time for FIFA – and for Qatar as well.

Debate about the “One Love” bandage: In Russia, nobody came up with the idea of ​​protesting

Now one can have different opinions as to whether it is up to the footballers to carry politics onto the field with a fancy bandage – as a sign against any form of discrimination, be it because of gender or religion, because of sexual orientation or for political reasons . Not least as a protest against the situation of women, homosexuals and migrant workers in the host country. Incidentally, at the World Cup four years ago in Russia, nobody at the DFB had the idea of ​​pointing out the systematic human rights violations in Putin’s empire.

However, one cannot dispute that all participating nations knew which FIFA rules apply to this World Cup. Their regulations are clear on this point: the captain’s armband provided by the association must be worn. FIFA, in turn, has the right to punish violations – with fines, yellow cards or even a point deduction. Such are the rules. end, end, end.

DFB has chosen sport

In this dispute over the bandage, the DFB, like other European associations, had to decide between politics and sport. He chose the latter – and for good reason. The risk that Neuer would be suspended for a game after the second yellow card because of the wrong armband or even be sent off with yellow-red because of the armband plus a serious foul was too great for sporting reasons.

Furthermore, one cannot expect a sports association to show more backbone than its own government when it comes to human rights. The deep bowing of the Green Economics Minister Robert Habeck in front of the gas sheikhs clearly showed what priorities Berlin is pursuing: First comes energy, then morale. Which is understandable: If we wanted to obtain oil and gas exclusively from Western-style democracies, Germany would be economically ruined.

The course was set wrong years ago

This World Cup has shown that once the points are set incorrectly, the train cannot quickly turn off in a different direction just before the end station. The mistake of awarding the World Cup to Qatar can no longer be ironed out afterwards. Nor is it surprising that the money-seeking FIFA officials are proving to be willing accomplices to Doha’s autocratic, human rights-treating regime. It is obvious that they would not have liked a bandage that is supposed to be a symbol of diversity.

In the run-up to the World Cup, the DFB, with its President Bernd Neuendorf, rightly pointed out the inhumane situation of migrant workers in Qatar and demanded that FIFA compensate the families of the workers who died during the construction work. But when it came to bandages, Neuendorf had to admit that the DFB, as the world’s largest football association, didn’t stand a chance against the FIFA leadership: “It’s a show of force by FIFA,” he commented on this “frustrating, unprecedented” incident.

It is now too late for political protest

When it comes to Qatar, the DFB cannot wash its hands of innocence anyway. In the past, German football officials had shown no interest in the human rights situation in World Cup country Qatar. Franz Beckenbauer had even ridiculed that he had seen “no slaves in chains” there. Germany’s prestigious club Bayern Munich, on the other hand, is more than happy to collect sponsorship money from the emirate. And whether or not Beckenbauer voted for Qatar in 2010 is something the “Kaiser” has kept to himself to this day. He will know why.

The DFB decided very late to take a critical view of the human rights situation in Qatar. It therefore sounds like false pathos when DFB director Oliver Bierhoff now says that the bandage can be taken away from the German national team, “but not our values”. Germany’s football officials only discovered these values ​​at the last minute. But those who come so late are punished by the almighty Infantino.

Now one should not deny an organization like the DFB a certain ability to learn. If the German football leaders really want to stand up for “our values” within FIFA, then they have to join forces with other similarly oriented associations. In any case, for “Qatar2022” it is too late for political protest.

But after the game is known to be before the game. The next World Cup will take place in Canada, Mexico and the USA in 2026. If the German footballers want to symbolically stand up for diversity there together with teams from other countries, they should let FIFA know very soon. And say long before the first game what ultimately has priority for the DFB: Values ​​or goals.

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Denmark – Tunisia

11/22/2022 | 14:00 clock

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