Former German Football Association president accuses ‘One Love’ badge of causing machine team to bid farewell to World Cup

BERLIN: Fritz Keller, former president of the German Football Association, has criticized the controversy over the multicolored ‘One Love’ armband, noting that it was one of the main reasons for Germany’s early farewell to the currently unfolding World Cup in these days in Qatar. Keller stated in an interview with the German newspaper ‘Stuttgarter Zeitung’ published today, Friday, that the politicians and other officials of the German Football Association “convinced the team to take action and wear the armband of a love”. “There was a rift in the team and pressure was put on the captain and the players to do it,” Keeler explained. Then there were discussions about things that had nothing to do with sport.” Germany were among the teams planned to wear the multicolored captain’s armband in sign of equality and diversity during the tournament. And teams intending to wear the armband have pulled out after the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) threatened to impose financial and sporting sanctions, which prompted German national team players to muzzle during the official picture of the squad before their opening World Cup match against Japan. Keller, who led the German Football Association between 2019 and 2021, paid tribute to Oliver Bierhoff, who stepped down as Germany coach this week. Keeler spoke about Bierhoff, saying: “He was one of the few who didn’t hide behind his position, but also took responsibility. For 18 years he tried to make a difference in football in the field of developing young talent, but was prevented because many wanted to make him a business. Keller had resigned from his post in the German Football Association in May 2021, because during a meeting he had compared Rainer Koch, vice president of the association at the time, to the Nazi judge Rolf Freisler, who handed down death sentences against opponents of the regime. (dpa)