Niersbach rejects Criticism of Twentysomethings on Qatar Issue


Berlin “I’ve learned how important it is to check the facts before you go public. That’s exactly how I handled it in this case,” Niersbach told Welt am Sonntag after Zwanziger accused him of failing to speak in the discussion about inhumane working conditions for guest workers at the World Cup construction sites in Qatar. Niersbach emphasized that this topic was new for him and that he had first sought information from Michael Sommer, the chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation. “When it comes to human rights, we are all responsible. The fact is that the platform helps football to draw attention to grievances,” Niersbach added, stressing that the world governing body FIFA must address this issue. “We have to make use of our opportunities, but we must not outdo the sports federations.” At the 2012 European Championships, the DFB also clearly positioned itself in the matter of Yulia Tymoshenko. Zwanziger had indirectly criticized Niersbach the previous week. On important sports policy issues, he would like the DFB to intervene. But everyone in a leadership position does it as he thinks it is right, Zwanziger, now a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Statements that Niersbach took note of in amazement. “In football, you are not immune from surprises – and even away from the 90 minutes you don’t have to be able to understand all things.” The IG Bau has also identified unsustainable conditions on the World Cup construction sites after an inspection trip to Qatar. “The living and working conditions for construction workers in Qatar are inmany inhumane,” Dietmar Schäfers, deputy chairman of the trade union IG BAU, told wamS, adding: “I assume that German companies will meet minimum standards here.” He will now send a letter to the German construction companies in which he reports on his experiences and asks the companies for confirmation that “they themselves set good standards on the spot”. FIFA chief Joseph Blatter had announced a “courtesy visit” to the emir, but he does not see the world governing body as responsible. Niersbach believes that FIFA only wants to find a date for a possible relocation of the World Cup to the winter months after a consultation procedure at the end of 2014/early 2015. Everyone would have to be brought on board on this issue, whereby “we generally agree that the World Cup must be postponed,” niersbach said. Former FIFA official Harold Mayne-Nicholls doesn’t see it that way. “If we were to play in May and June, the tournament could start on May 20 and end on June 19. Then it’s warm, but not as hot as in July. The Champions League final could then be played on 30 April,” Mayne-Nicholls said at a football conference in Qatar. The Chilean had once led the technical commission, which had analysed the candidate countries before the award and gave Qatar the worst rating. Nevertheless, the tournament in the FIFA executive committee had gone to the small Gulf state by 14 votes out of 22. A decision that had already caused incomprehension at Niersbach at that time. “Democratic processes also include accepting decisions at some point and looking for solutions. I cannot repeat every week for nine years that our DFB did not consider the award to Qatar to be good,” added the DFB chief.


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