German ex football star joins criticism of Qatar on gay rights

Oliver Bierhoff, the technical director of the German football team and former football star, said on Saturday that World Cup host Qatar's "treatment of homosexuals is absolutely unacceptable".

German football official Oliver Bierhoff at a press conference on 9th June 2022.
German football official Oliver Bierhoff at a press conference on 9th June 2022. Photo: Daniel Löb/dpa

In the build up to the World Cup, which kicks off on November 21st, Qatar’s human rights record has come under mounting criticism.

Bierhoff, a World Cup runner up in 2002 who will be with the German team at the finals, said he was unhappy that homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state.

This “does not correspond in any way to my convictions”, he said in an interview with the Funke group of German regional dailies.

“What criteria does FIFA actually use to award a World Cup?” Bierhoff asked.

“The awarding of a tournament is the most powerful weapon to push for the necessary changes, he said, but those changes “must occur before the choice of the country and not after, otherwise we have no more means of pressure.”

He said the team wants to showcase the values of modern Germany, beyond soccer.

“I think it is globally good that we continue to talk about these themes outside the sports field, to raise awareness,” he said.

World Cup organisers have been struggling to convince lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer fans among the 1.4 million expected at the World Cup that they will be safe.

Concerns were raised at the FIFA Congress in Doha in March. The world body says that LGBTQ symbols will be allowed in any stadium, while Qatari authorities have appealed for outsiders to respect their “conservative” culture.

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German boss says pressure on England for women’s Euro final

Germany women's manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said the pressure is all on England for Sunday's Euro 2022 final with an expectant home crowd of 87,000 at Wembley hoping to roar the Lionesses on to victory.

German boss says pressure on England for women's Euro final

England have never won a major tournament in the women’s game, in stark contrast to Germany’s record of winning eight of the previous 12 women’s European Championships.

But the host nation is reaching fever pitch with senior politicians, royalty, celebrities and famous faces from the men’s game wishing Sarina Wiegman’s women well.

“There is more pressure on England tomorrow than us,” said Voss-Tecklenburg at her pre-match press conference.

“We’ve dreamt of this, a final against England at Wembley. I don’t know if there is a bigger moment for our players. We want to stay present and embrace everything.”

READ ALSO: Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final in London

Germany have historically dominated the rivalry between the nations in the women’s game, losing just two of 27 meetings.

But the Lionesses won the last clash between the two in the Arnold Clark Cup in February.

That was against a much-weakened Germany side due to a coronavirus outbreak and Voss-Tecklenburg will be without a key player for the final in Klara Buhl due to Covid.

The Bayern Munich winger missed Germany’s 2-1 semi-final win over France and has not tested negative in time to rejoin the squad.

The game on Sunday will be shown at several ‘public viewings’ across Germany, including in beer gardens such as BRLO in Berlin.