Racism, homophobia, a World Cup in the autocratic state of Qatar: international football and its institutions are currently being violently shaken. Jörg Schmadtke, managing director of VfL-Wolfsburg, is campaigning for an end to the hypocrisy.
It shouldn’t be football that will be remembered from the European Championship that has just ended. Rather the hubris of Uefa to distribute the tournament across the continent even in pandemic times. Or the farce about the forbidden rainbow lighting in Munich’s Allianz Arena. And last but not least, the ugly grimace of racism that was revealed when alleged fans bully the English penalty shooters Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka because of their skin color.
There is probably no other tournament that has been so severely judged in the public perception as with the expired Euro, which – another craziness – operated under the label Euro 2020, although it had been postponed by a year due to the corona. Now a prominent Bundesliga manager has spoken out loud and has called for a discussion of the concrete consequences of the mostly inconsequential criticism of major sporting events: Jörg Schmadtke, managing director of the Champions League participant VfL-Wolfsburg.
In an interview with the ‘Sportbuzzer’ portal, Schmadtke said there were ‘many questionable things that have happened in recent years – from the awarding of the World Cup to a European Championship in pandemic times across the continent to the decision to go without the Olympics To let spectators take place ‘.
Economic interests take precedence over sport
The behavior of the large associations such as Fifa, Uefa or IOC makes it increasingly clear that ‘sport-political and economic interests are above sport.’ It must therefore be allowed to ask ‘whether one simply notes that and then goes on to the agenda – or whether one is prepared to seriously discuss the consequences for once. About not participating, for example in the World Cup. ‘
Schmadtke does not explicitly demand that Germany boycott the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. ‘But at least one should discuss things openly,’ he said. ‘Or they say: We just have a sports system that is primarily about economic interests. But then you should also stop complaining about the stress on the players. ‘
The Uefa plans to increase the field of EM participants from 24 to 32 participants are further evidence that ‘it is not primarily about meaningfulness and not about the players – but about profit.’ He could therefore ‘understand’ the corresponding protests – including by fan organizations – against the undisguised subordination of sport to economic interests. But ‘if we constantly remind us, at some point we have to talk honestly and openly about the consequences’ and ‘not always just criticize and then continue to play the game anyway.’