• Germany's news in English

Ballack's agent brands national players 'queers'

The Local · 12 Jul 2010, 15:55

Published: 12 Jul 2010 15:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Lawyer Michael Becker, a close adviser to Ballack since 1999, made the remarks two months before the World Cup, according to an essay in Monday’s edition of news magazine Der Spiegel.

The remarks have fuelled concerns that, in contrast to the much lauded racial diversity and tolerance within the national team, football remains a bastion of homophobia.

The essay’s author, Alexander Osang, wrote that Becker had said during a conversation two months before the World Cup at a restaurant in Luxembourg that he knew which players on the team were gay.

A few days later, Becker told a group of journalists and players’ managers at a match played by Ballack’s new club Bayer Leverkusen that there was a former national player who was going to expose a “bunch of queers” within the national team. Osang wrote that others present had merely reacted with nods.

Later, when Osang asked Becker if another national team player was also homosexual, Becker answered that he was “half-gay.”

Osang concluded that homosexuality was “a synonym for anything that Becker did not understand.”

Apparently that included the lighter, more elegant style of play encouraged under the leadership of Germany coach Joachim Löw.

Ballack, who was injured shortly before the World Cup, spent the tournament as a spectator. Although defender Philipp Lahm filled in as skipper, Ballack remains officially the captain of the national team.

Becker told daily Bild he would neither confirm nor deny making the remarks and merely said: “The colleague from Der Spiegel must clearly have misunderstood something.”

He did not elaborate. Whether Becker was talking about the private lives of specific players or simply using offensive language is not clear, however the remarks are likely to intensify concerns that professional football remains an area where homosexuality is a taboo.

Story continues below…

Dirk Mesch, spokesman for Bayer Leverkusen, the club where Ballack started out and to which he will return after leaving English side Chelsea FC, distanced the club from Becker’s remarks.

“At Bayer Leverkusen we have absolutely no resentment towards homosexuals,” he said.

The remarks were “personal statements by Mr Becker, which are not connected with Bayer Leverkusen,” Mesch added.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:53 July 12, 2010 by Portnoy
Since the head of the Bundesliga's referees was forced to resign this spring for sexually harassing his younger BOYFRIEND (a bundesliga referee), I hardly think anyone gives a great god-damn about who anyone falls in love with, really. Maybe Becker was dating the ref chap and is bitter?
17:55 July 12, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
Here- Here, I second that.
20:28 July 12, 2010 by Celeon
Who cares if Boateng thinks that ízil has a nice butt , for as long as they just keep playing football like that ! :-D

And after those beautiful goals of his, everyone on the team felt like kissing Müller anyway. Thats ok ! :-D
20:48 July 12, 2010 by JAMessersmith
I think it's funny that having two black guys, a Turk, and a couple Poles on the team counts as "diversity" in Germany. But to the point, this homophobia is coming from one guy. Consider what's going on in France right now... half the country is blaming their team's "diversity" for their national disgrace, which makes this seem rather insignificant.
22:50 July 12, 2010 by mikecowler
England team were queer secret agents...had to be as they didnt have a clue how to play against Algeria or Germany...Ballacks agents just bitter a probably in denial ha ha ha.....
10:07 July 13, 2010 by nepo77
This just in.All future televised England matches have been moved to the Gay Adult channel. Apparently, the sight of 11 idiots frequently getting hammered for 90 minutes was far too explicit for regular tv!
14:44 July 13, 2010 by petenick
Being gay is and should be a "non-issue" and all Mr. Becker does is to promote his vast ignorance and intolerance.
19:16 July 14, 2010 by cocovelvet
Its shocking how the idiotism of certain people can influence their thinking to such a high level of ignorance and intolerance, moreso in the 21st century. I thought homosexuality was widely acceptable in Germany ; so whats all this big fuss about .......... probably I was wrong ??!!
05:13 July 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Maybe Becker should also represent Mel Gibson. That would be a pair to draw to, and Gibson definitely needs a new agent since William Morris dropped him following his most recent tape-recorded racist tirades. Bigots belong together, preferably cloistered from civilized society.
16:33 July 16, 2010 by martinjohn
Spain won. They had less racial diversity than Germany, England, France, Netherlands. Do not know whether any were gay. But it raises the question whether it is individual talent or tribalism that wins out in the end in a game like soccer.
Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd