Politicians, athletes and the like have commented on the ban on the “One Love” bandage, but German national football players have hardly said anything. Striker Laura Freigang now finds emotional words.
The discussion about the ban on the “One Love” captain’s armband at the soccer World Cup in Qatar has been the topic of the last few days – also during the World Cup opening defeat of the German national soccer team against Japan (1: 2) last Wednesday.
Whether ARD expert Thomas Hitzlsperger, ex-national player Michael Ballack or Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens), the list of public figures who have commented on the debate is long. Statements from players of the German women’s national soccer team, on the other hand, are few. Now, however, striker Laura Freigang has spoken out in an emotional Instagram post.
“I am also concerned with the events surrounding the World Cup. As an active player, I am under the umbrella of FIFA and at this point I would like to clearly distance myself from the actions of the world association that are currently being discussed,” the Eintracht Frankfurt player begins her contribution and posts a picture of herself with the rainbow flag in the background. “Unfortunately, all of this has very little to do with what football should actually stand for: namely fairness, respect, integrity and diversity,” she continues.
For the 24-year-old, football is a game “of people – of all people” and becomes political at the latest when “this simple basis is completely disregarded”. The Instagram post ends with the words: “For people. For soccer”.
The post got a lot of attention on the internet within a very short time. As of Thursday, he already had over 56,000 likes. Freigang’s national teammates Alexandra Popp, Lena Oberdorf and Sara Doorsoun also signaled their support by commenting on the post with an emoji showing clapping hands. Other users wrote texts like “I think it’s super important! Thank you for your courageous, but also important step!” or “Why do all clever contributions on this topic always come from you women? Don’t you want to coach Neuer and Co.?”
Magull and Schüller also have their say
A few days ago, Bayern player Lina Magull also commented on the ban on the “One Love” armband and criticized Fifa. “Fifa doesn’t do itself any favors by making certain statements that are meant to please people but don’t make any sense at all; that are just said so that something is said,” said the national player at web.de: “It’s not very authentic and not honest, and that’s what’s annoying.”
Like DFB captain Manuel Neuer, she would probably not have worn the “One Love” armband as captain of the German women’s national soccer team because of the threatening sporting consequences from Fifa. “It would of course still have been a nice and important sign to hold on to the bandage, as this is a strong outward expression. On the other hand, it is understandable from a sporting point of view when sanctions are threatened,” said the Vice-European Champion, who nevertheless condemned Fifa’s behavior.
Focus on sport and critical questioning
Magull also believes that sporting matters are taking a backseat in Qatar because of host country discussions. “You can feel that in the whole environment that there is less enthusiasm and more need to talk. That more critical issues will be addressed,” she said. The DFB team must now “simply make the best of this tournament, because the train has long since left the station.” According to Magull, a boycott of the World Cup might have had an effect. “But now we’re all in the same boat and have to try to bring football back to the fore and at the same time critically question things, address them and also do something good locally,” said the international.
In addition to Magull, another footballer spoke up on the debate about the “One Love” captain’s armband last Tuesday. Lea Schüller, FC Bayern’s top scorer, criticized the attitude of the national teams in relation to the ban on the bandage. In addition to the DFB team, England and the Netherlands, for example, also caved in after the threatened sanctions from Fifa and now refrained from wearing the bandage at the World Cup.
“Of course, that’s not just the decision of the players, you also have to hold the associations responsible. If you say you want to wear the captain’s armband, I would have thought it would have been a good sign if you had worn it,” said the Bayern striker and Germany international. “I don’t know what the exact sanctions are. Nevertheless, it was the big football nations that first agreed to do so. I would have found it cool if they had decided to do so together,” said Schüller, who decided not to watch the World Cup games.