AL-RUWAIS, Qatar ( Associated Press) — Bernd Neuendorff, president of the German soccer federation, has criticized FIFA for its efforts to restrict the political activities of national teams over human rights concerns.
During Germany’s first press conference in Qatar ahead of the World Cup, Neuendorff said on Friday that he was particularly troubled by a letter sent by FIFA president Gianni Infantino a few weeks earlier, urging teams to “play football focus on” and put political issues aside. ,
“The fact that the issue of human rights is no longer relevant and that we are focusing only on football here and now bothers us to some extent and angers us,” Neuendorff said.
He said that the federation had to indicate that it would not remain silent.
Neuendorff also referred to FIFA’s decision to prevent the Danish team from wearing the slogan “Human rights for all” on their training shirts.
“It was declared a political statement and therefore prohibited,” Neuendorff said. “We are not going to talk about a political decision that can be interpreted in one way or another with a slogan like ‘human rights for all’. It is about human rights, and human rights are universal and binding all over the world.
Neuendorff said Germany is cooperating with other European federations who want their captains to wear armbands with rainbow heart designs during World Cup matches to protest discrimination.
“It’s not a political statement, it’s a human rights statement,” Neuendorff said, adding that if the gesture was banned, “I would be willing to accept a fine as well.”