Qatar debacle and AfD scolding: “Dark clouds” over DFB make Völler very concerned

Wednesday 01 March 2023

Concern about the future of German football: Rudi Völler predicts tough times for the DFB. In front of the sports committee of the Bundestag, the new DFB sports director explains the failure of the national team and spreads hope for the home European Championship in 2024. He brushes off an AfD politician.

Rudi Völler sent greetings from Hansi Flick and did not shy away from a speech duel with the politicians. In his remarks to the sports committee of the Bundestag on the processing of the failure of the national soccer team at the World Cup in Qatar, the new DFB sports director also gave the parliamentarians hopes for a successful home European Championship in the summer of 2024. “First we try to win people back and then we try it at the European Championships,” said Völler in Berlin.

But the 1990 world champion didn’t want to promise the European title. And: Völler didn’t want to hide the “dark clouds” over German football either. You still have “great guys” for four, five, six years. After that it could be difficult.

Even more difficult? The topic of the meeting in the center of power was primarily the Qatar failure a good two months ago, and in addition to Völler, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf, a former SPD State Secretary and a political professional, had to ask probing questions about the Flick-Elf’s appearance in the Gulf, which ended early . Sport was one thing. But the sports-political debacle surrounding the One Love armband was of no less interest.

One-Love bandage and mouth-to-mouth gesture

A member of the Bundestag reported a full house. The half circle of seats reserved for guests on the balcony above the meeting room was also jam-packed. Some parliamentarians took the opportunity to take a fan photo with Völler. Almost all factions exceeded the allotted time limit with the questions. It was also about party opinion and party interests. Football was once again the vehicle.

The discussion about the one love motif on Manuel Neuer’s captain’s armband took up a lot of space. As well as the questions about the decision that led to the mouth-to-mouth gesture in the team photo against Japan (1: 2). Neuendorf went into detail about the dilemma surrounding the short-term FIFA ban on the bandage. “We were in a situation where we didn’t know how far the penalty would go,” said the DFB boss about the situation before the publicly criticized waiving of the symbolic bandage after a FIFA power word. The DFB did not urge the team to make a “shut up” gesture before the Japan game (1: 2), but the stars acted “out of annoyance” at FIFA.

“There was a certain drama there. We didn’t have much time and had to act. In my opinion, FIFA was the trigger of the situation,” said Neuendorf. It was her decision that Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the bandage in the stands at the game against Japan. “She made the decision alone and independently,” said Neuendorf. Völler explained his later criticism of Faeser. His gut feeling told him in front of the TV that it wasn’t good. “I don’t want my interior minister to be brought in,” Völler alluded to photos taken by Faeser with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino. Neuendorf later left open whether the FIFA boss, who was unloved in Germany, would be re-elected in March.

Scold for the AfD

AfD politician Jörn König, who drew historical parallels from German athletes with armbands, was brushed off by Völler. “You applied it too thickly,” Völler complained, his eyes sparkling quite evilly. Because of the time limit, Völler was allowed to comment on the sporting perspective “quickly”. “It won’t be easy, but I’m optimistic,” was the quintessence of the execution of Oliver Bierhoff’s successor for the EM perspective. Everyone would have to “pull themselves together a bit”.

Völler followed the politicians’ debates about the time quotas in the committee with amazement. “I don’t know that from football,” said the ex-team boss. “Everyone always babbles as much as they want.” When the time was up and Neuendorf was still expected in the Human Rights Committee, Völler offered to stay for further questions, provided a hot drink would be served. “There’s not even a coffee here.”


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