The World Cup is over but no doubt there will continue to be controversy surrounding arguably the most debated tournament in the competition’s history.
Although various World Cups have taken place in questionable host countries, Argentina in 1978 and Russia in 2018 spring to mind, the Qatar World Cup has seen a closer microscope put on the laws and rights within the country.
Germany made waves when their team posed for their pre-match photo with their hands over their mouths. The implied meaning was that they had been silenced by FIFA, after the organisers threatened sporting sanctions for wearing a rainbow armband.
That brought praise and criticism, but now Germany manager Hansi Flick has told TZ that he would rather his own players stick to the football.
“French President Emmanuel Macron said: ‘Football is too politicised, our players should concentrate on football, I do politics.’ That would have been a good thing for us, for politics, other people have been trained.”
Many fans in Germany decided not to watch the tournament out of protest, something which disappointed Flick.
“The mood against Qatar was incredibly strong beforehand. Many watched the games, many others had concerns. The country was divided, and that’s a shame, football is supposed to unite.”
There is of course an incredible serving of hypocrisy in both Flick and Macron’s statements. Macron used the French national team’s clout to improve his own image on numerous occasions during the World Cup. Equally football should be a force for uniting fans, but by definition, if LGBTQIA+ fans cannot live like others in the country of the World Cup, then the organisers are choosing to divide people.
Image via Peter Schatz / Pool / via Mladen Lackovic