German Football Association (DFB) President Bernd Neuendorf has criticized FIFA for its attempts to restrict the political activities of national teams in terms of human rights.
Speaking at Germany’s first press conference in Qatar ahead of the World Cup, Neuendorf said on Friday he was particularly annoyed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s letter two weeks ago, urging teams to “focus on the football” and leave political matters aside.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)
– World Cup 2022: schedule, previews and how to watch
“That the subject of human rights no longer plays any role, that we now focus here only on football, that irritated us to a certain extent and disturbed us,” Neuendorf said.
He added that the federation must send a signal to show that it will not be silenced.
Neuendorf also spoke about FIFA’s decision to ban the Denmark team from wearing the slogan “Human Rights for All” on training shirts.
“It was declared as a political statement and therefore prohibited,” Neuendorf said. “We are not talking about a political decision that can be taken one way or the other with a slogan like ‘Human rights for all’. It is about human rights. And human rights are universal and binding everywhere in the world.
Neuendorf said Germany was cooperating with other European federations who want their captains to wear a rainbow heart armband during World Cup matches to protest discrimination.
“It’s not a political statement, because it’s a statement for human rights,” said Neuendorf, who added that if it were banned, “I would be quite prepared to accept a fine as well. ”.
The English FA chief executive also said he would be willing to pay a fine, while noting that FIFA has yet to respond to his request to wear the armband.
“They gave us no response to our letter,” Mark Bullingham told Sky News.
“I think it is possible that we will receive a fine. And if so, we will pay the fine. We think it’s really important to show our values. And that’s what we will do.”
. boss german denounces fifa for letter focus on football