Germany’s football league chief executive Donata Hopfen believes the World Cup in Qatar will have a lasting effect on the sport.
German football league (DFL) chief executive Donata Hopfen believes the World Cup in Qatar will have a lasting effect on the sport due to the many political debates that came with it.
“The World Cup will certainly change things, has changed things. It will draw attention to many topics that are important,” she told the dpa news agency on Thursday.
On the controversy surrounding the “OneLove” captain’s armband banned by football governing body FIFA, Hopfen said: “I think the discussion was right and at the same time we are here to play football.
“I am very happy that we are now focusing on the sport,” she added.
Hopfen said the World Cup 2022 is the biggest football tournament in the world, “and at the end of the day, we always have to remember that it is about sport – and sport must be at the centre of it”.
Earlier, a group of European nations, including Germany, were planning to use the armband as a sign of equality and diversity during the tournament in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal.
But the teams backed down after FIFA threatened financial and sporting sanctions.
Ahead of their opening game against Japan, Germany’s players covered their mouths during a team photo in protest against FIFA’s threat to sanction players for wearing the “OneLove” armband.
Hopfen was in Doha to watch Germany’s last group stage match against Costa Rica on Thursday, which her country won 4-2.
But the win could not ensure the four-time world champions a slot in the knockout stage.
Germany began their final fixture against Costa Rica knowing a win would likely take them into the last 16 if Japan failed to beat Spain.
However, Japan staged a remarkable comeback to beat La Roja, ensuring they emerged as surprise group winners and ending Germany’s bid for a fifth World Cup triumph.
Germany’s fate was effectively decided when it lost its first game 2-1 to Japan, then followed up with a 1-1 draw with Spain.
With the exit, Germany have failed to progress beyond the group stage at consecutive World Cups after doing so on each of their previous 16 appearances at the tournament.