It is no secret that the 2022 FIFA World Cup and its host Qatar have drawn the ire of many people; there are many criticisms of the tournament, with some even considering a boycott. In response to Qatar being hosts, Germany and other members of UEFA had their captains wear a special armband with the message “love.” It is meant as a statement against discrimination and for diversity.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, former player of Bayern Munich, says this opposition is a step in the right direction; however, he thinks that Qatar should be given a chance, let the tournament finish, and then say something about it.
“It’s definitely a good sign; it’s important to show your values,” Schweinsteiger said (as captured by Deutsche Welle). “But as an athlete, you can’t do more than those kinds of things. Of course, you have to talk about the issues, really analyze them and be critical. But our German chancellor [Olaf Scholz] said things are improving and I trust his words. In the end, it’s a sports event, it’s for the players. I think you should give them a chance and form an opinion when the World Cup is over.”
One of Basti’s former teammates, Thomas Hitzlsperger, said it was “wrong” to give the World Cup to Qatar. Hitzlsperger is gay and, if he was in Qatar and were too open about his sexuality, could find himself in jail. Schweinsteiger said that if no one wanted Qatar as hosts, it should’ve been decided years before. Either way, he still wants to give Qatar the opportunity to be able to host a World Cup.
“Everyone can have an opinion. But if you say Qatar should not be a World Cup host, you should have said it years ago. That’s my opinion, it’s too late,” said Schweinsteiger. “We should give it a chance and then after the tournament and the whole experience talk about what was good or bad.”
Looking for more chatter on Germany’s World Cup squad, the Bayern Munich contingent, who was left out, and who was a surprise inclusion? Check out our Weekend Warm-up Podcast, which features a deep dive on Hansi Flick’s squad ahead of their tournament in Qatar: