The colorful group that came together at the beginning of the week on the new campus of the German Football Association (DFB) in Frankfurt was something new for the more than 120-year-old association.

DFB President Bernd Neuendorf had invited various representatives from half a dozen organizations in the LGBTIQ+ community in Germany to spend two hours talking with them about the World Cup in Qatar.

About their concerns, expectations and demands.

Michael Horini

Football correspondent Europe in Berlin.

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The exchange served the president and the association together with its ambassador for diversity, Thomas Hitzlsperger, but also to make clear a new positioning of the DFB in dealing with gender diversity and the community.

"I think it's very important that we enter into a dialogue and also include your expectations," said Neuendorf in greeting.

He spoke of the "most controversial World Cup" and how the hosts dealt with issues such as "employee rights, women's rights, LGBTIQ+, media and press freedom and other socio-political aspects".

The DFB takes a critical view of this and has recently made this publicly clear through appropriate “messages”.

Movement in the DFB

Neuendorf reports to the various interest groups of the LGBTIQ+ scene about the movement that the DFB has made in the recent past in this new direction for him.

In addition to the public criticism of Qatar, "visibility" was also created on these issues.

The DFB took part in Christopher Street Day in Frankfurt last month with a double-decker bus.

In the sense of a common commitment to a free and diverse society, as the association explained.

Neuendorf also wants to see it as a success that the DFB recently passed a new regulation on the right to play for “trans*, inter* and non-binary people”, which will come into force with this 2022/23 season and will apply to amateur football in the DFB game regulations and youth regulations have been included.

Other sports federations, such as the International Swimming Federation (FINA), have found different answers to this challenge.

Trans women who want to start in the women's class there in the future must have undergone hormone therapy by the age of twelve or by the time they hit puberty.

The swimming association wants to ensure that adult transgender athletes do not have an unfair advantage in women's competitions.

If you cannot prove these criteria, you will not be able to start in international competitions.

Neuendorf describes the DFB executive committee's decision to change the football game regulations as "liberalization of game operations".

It is a very "important point for transgender and intersex people" that the association has created the opportunity for them "to be able to freely choose the team they would like to play in".

Neuendorf also announced that he would travel to Qatar with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) before the World Cup in order to talk about the topics that would be discussed with the LGBTIQ+ community at the DFB on that day.

He wanted to take "one or the other message" with him there.

But it is also true, said Hitzlsperger, that not every wish can be implemented with a view to the World Cup.

The DFB is developing "but in a very good direction".

Community advises against traveling to Qatar

The representatives of the community in the house of the DFB did not hide their criticism of the World Cup.

The criticism is primarily aimed at the situation for women and the LGBTIQ+ community in the host country.

In Qatar, homosexuality is punishable by death.

Last but not least, concerns were expressed about the lack of security in this context, but also specifically about female fans and employees in various areas (media, teams, organization) around the World Cup.

The community does not believe the announcement by the organizers of the World Cup that everyone is welcome in Qatar.

“We cannot recommend anyone from our ranks to travel to Qatar.

There are too many unanswered questions,” said Sven Kistner, representative of queer football fan clubs.

The questions include aspects that have not been clarified for the representatives of the scene, such as: Can women wear a T-shirt and shorts in the stadium when it is 30 degrees Celsius?

Are you allowed to travel alone?

Do you need a male companion because of the male guardianship anchored there by law?

Should unmarried women wear a wedding ring just to be on the safe side?

As long as no satisfactory answers are given, Annabell Kolbe from F_in (Netzwerk Frauen im Fußball) advises all female fans not to travel - although she knows that for many fans it could be a highlight in their fan life.