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The German Football Association (DFB) is building on their understanding of the situation in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup. Less than three months after Germany met with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the German Football Association (DFB) continued to build on their understanding of the situation in Qatar ahead of the


Jun-10 20:37 first published at 20:37 PM

On the pitch, Joshua Kimmich’s attention levels are at their peak, but the Germany midfielder and his teammates have recently had to focus a lot more on what’s going on off the field.

The German Football Association (DFB) continued to improve on their awareness of the situation in Qatar less than three months after meeting with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Germany’s players and staff sat in on a conversation amongst a panel of guest speakers at their domestic home training base in Herzogenaurach. While the discussion was about the situation in Qatar in general, the focus of this discussion was on the crisis facing Qatar’s LGBTQ+ community.

Christian Rudolph, the DFB’s head of gender and sexual diversity, reminded the audience of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-recent Thani’s comments in which he stated that LGBTQ tourists would be welcomed but would be required to “respect our tradition.”

This phrase is less inviting to Rudolph than it appears. “I perceive this as a danger,” Rudolph remarked, adding that “holding hands, as one does on vacation, is already penalized,” which “certainly does not create a sense of security.”

According to Thomas Hitzlsperger, the German FA’s ambassador for diversity, each player must determine for themselves how much pressure they are willing to accept. “Only talk about topics you know about, and say when you don’t,” the former Germany international said.

Last year, Germany made a statement when the starting eleven wore t-shirts that read “human rights” before of their qualifier against Iceland.

Leon Goretzka, who is known for his outspokenness on social issues, later explained that the club’s display of support was in response to the situation in Qatar, and that it was an opportunity for the team to use its wide reach to set an example of the principles they want to promote.

Thomas Müller caused a stir with his comments just a day after the meeting with Amnesty and HRW in March this year, when the Bayern Munich attacker declared there were human rights violations “essentially everywhere,” even in Germany.

Qatar has been widely chastised in recent years for human rights violations, particularly its treatment of migrant labor, women’s rights, and the LGBTQ+ population. Qatar has stated numerous times that significant progress has been made, but human rights organizations like as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch argue much more needs to be done. Martin Endemann, Project Manager of Football Supporters Europe and another speaker at this month’s panel for the Germany squad, agrees: “Qatar’s condition has not improved. There are no unions, no freedom of speech, and no freedom of the press.”

At the end of the discussion, team manager Oliver Bierhoff stated that: “There is not one truth to Qatar, which is why it’s important we take a position.”

There is no single truth in Qatar, according to Oliver Bierhoff.

Two days later, Bierhoff told Der Spiegel he wants “a big concerted action” from the whole European football family “that shows: We have all dealt with the critical issues and are now showing our colours.” DFB President Bernd Neuendorf recently voiced interest in a similar idea, although the details of such plans remain unclear.

With just two friendlies in September before the World Cup begins, this is the last significant amount of time Germany will have together as a group before the tournament in Qatar begins in November.

With each passing week, questions mount about how Germany will perform on the field but also how the team and the association will handle the host of issues that surround the tournament in Qatar.

James Thorogood edited the piece.

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