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Comment on the rally by the DFB team against conditions in Qatar: Human rights are not marketing

Sports editor Günter Klein comments that the campaign by the DFB-Elf for human rights with regard to the World Cup venue Qatar was marketed in an image film for self-portrayal.

Respect for the national team – this was also expressed by those who have distanced themselves from the flagship team of German football in recent years. But that just seemed like a good thing: That the players took a stance on the host country Qatar at the beginning of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. The way eleven players stood there and created the warning lettering HUMAN RIGHTS using the large letters on their T-shirts, that made an impression. And when it was said that FIFA would waive a penalty for expressing political opinion (which means: it had considered one), the action seemed really daring in retrospect.

“Making-of” of “Human Rights” with heroic music

The good impression was put into perspective when a day later the DFB distributed a film on the national team’s social media: the “making-of” of “Human Rights”. Heroic music, professional cuts, also the main sponsor VW with its logo in the picture – not a clip that can be quickly made with a mobile phone, but of a quality that requires script, preparation and lighting. An image film made by an advertising agency. And now, of course, you have to doubt: should “Human Rights” really have been an idea from players’ circles? Or was the statement also a staging?

The German national soccer team set an example for human rights at the beginning of the qualification for the 2022 World Cup in the heavily criticized Qatar. During the line-up for the national anthems before the duel with Iceland in Duisburg, each player wore a black T-shirt with a white letter – together the message was: “HUMAN RIGHTS”.

© DPA German Press Agency

You should have left the T-shirt appearance like that – without much self-expression

You should have left the T-shirt appearance as it was on Thursday evening. He spoke for himself, he didn’t need any explanation. You don’t make a glossy PR story out of it. The topic of disregard for human rights in Qatar is not met with pictures of a funny textile painting group of the team, which serve more to present themselves than to discuss the content.

Anyone who is critical of the national team now feels even more confirmed. And again Oliver Bierhoff will not understand why that is so. The national team director is sticking to his line of how German football should present itself at its top. He saved the title of “The Team”, which was not accepted, at the 2018 World Cup. For him, proof of closeness to the people is already provided when the players cycle from the hotel to training (status: before the pandemic). No appointment (going to school, helping with club training) goes without staging.

For the moment, HUMAN RIGHTS was a coup in the Duisburg stadium. The more honest word with eleven letters would be MARKETING.

List of rubric lists: © DPA Deutsche Presseagentur

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