German Football Association (DFB) President Bernd Neuendorf has said his federation will not support the re-election of Gianni Infantino, who is running unopposed for a third term as President of FIFA, in order to “send a signal” over human rights.
Neuendorf told a press conference at the German training base in Qatar that he had been “irritated” by recent FIFA statements urging the 32 teams participating in the tournament, to “focus on football” and avoid ideological battles, Agence France-Presse reports.
The build-up to the Qatar 2022 World Cup has been dominated by concerns over the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ+ community.
“We need to send a signal,” Neuendorf said.
“His [Infantino’s] statement that human rights should not be focused on because of the World Cup, which really irritated me.”
Neuendorf added that he was willing to pay any fine levied on the national team’s captain, Manuel Neuer, for wearing a “OneLove” armband at the World Cup to promote diversity and inclusion.
He said it was unclear whether FIFA would take action against those national team captains, who also include Harry Kane of England, choosing to wear an armband he said was “not a political declaration, but a statement of support for human rights”.
“Should there be financial sanctions, I am personally ready to pay a fine”, Neuendorf vowed.
Neuendorf went on to say he “did not want to rule out further actions” in support of human rights.
Four-time winners Germany play their first game of the tournament against Japan on Wednesday. –Insidethegames