German Football Association (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf said that he could not accept the position of the International Football Federation (FIFA), which is to focus only on football, at the World Cup opening two days later.
According to the Associated Press, Chairman Neuendorf said at a press conference held at the Al Shamal training ground in Aluwais, Qatar, "The talk of focusing only on football rather than on human rights topics annoyed us to some extent."
He added that the DFB should not sit still on non-football issues as suggested by FIFA.
Earlier this month, as the issue of workers' and sexual minorities' human rights erupted around Qatar, the host of the World Cup, FIFA sent a letter to 32 participating teams earlier this month, advising them to "focus on soccer."
In this letter, FIFA president Gianni Infantino urged that "football should not be embroiled in ideological or political battles."
On the 10th, it directly put the brakes on the Danish Football Association (DBU), which was trying to wear a shirt with a slogan urging respect for human rights beyond simply 'recommendation'.
At the time, DBU president Jakob Jensen expressed regret that "FIFA cited 'technical reasons' as the background for the refusal."
FIFA stipulates that the equipment used by players must not contain phrases or images with political or religious connotations.
President Jensen said, "The slogan 'human rights for all' is not a political statement, but a universal phrase."
On the 18th, President Neuendorf defended President Jensen.
"The DBU's slogan was banned because it was announced as a political manifesto," said Neuendorf, "in fact, I don't think it's a political thing, it's about human rights."
He went on to point out that “Human rights are universal and binding values worthy of respect throughout the world.”
In addition, he said he was in favor of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the captain of his team, wearing a 'rainbow armband' that resembles solidarity with LGBTQ people.
Previously, captains of European teams such as England, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany agreed to participate in this World Cup wearing 'One Love' armbands with the number '1' written on a heart filled with various colors like a rainbow.
Ahead of this tournament, the captains of the European team decided to wear this armband to protest against Qatar, where controversy over the treatment of sexual minorities arose, and to make it clear that they oppose all discrimination.
Chairman Neuendorf said, "Personally, I am prepared to bear the penalty," and said, "(Wearing the armband) is not a political statement, but a human rights statement."
Qatar, the host country of the World Cup, continues to face a confrontation with Europe and the West over the human rights of workers and sexual minorities.
Homosexuality is a criminal offense in this country.
In an interview with sports media Kicker in July, Chairman Neuendorf pointed out that "this World Cup will be the most controversial tournament" and that Qatar should work harder to guarantee human rights and freedom of the press.
(Photo = Getty Image Korea)