German president Neuendorf calls on FIFA to end secrecy and open up to transparency

By Samindra Kunti

March 20 – One of the few national associations not to support Gianni Infantino in his re-election to the FIFA president, the German DFB and their president Bernd Neuendorf, have demanded more transparency from the global body and a different attitude toward members.

“We asked so many questions over the past months,” Neuendorf told Insideworldfootball on the sidelines of the FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, last week.

“These related to Qatar and the humanitarian legacy such as a migrant worker centre or the legacy fund that was promised as well in Qatar. We don’t see much progress there. This was also the question, is Saudi Arabia involved in the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup?  Is there an engagement of Visit Saudi? We tried to find out, but there were no satisfying answers.”

DFB supremo since March 2022, Neuendorf’s relationship with Infantino and FIFA has been strained. Germany protested during the World Cup when the national team players held their hands in front of their mouths. The DFB also raised concerns about the human rights situation of migrant workers in Qatar. The Germans were in favour of establishing a centre for migrant workers.

“The installation of the migrant workers centre was one of the aims that we tried to achieve before the World Cup,” said Neuendorf.

“In the aftermath, we tried to find out if there was any progress in building these migrant worker centres? We didn’t get real answers from FIFA. It was not very satisfying. We were critical about that.  We said that FIFA should stick to that, and we should see that there is progress. Infantino knows that we are asking him these questions.”

A heavyweight federation with a huge membership, the DFB was one of few federations in Kigali that openly did not support Infantino for re-election. However, the Germans never had the chance to vote as Infantino swept to victory unopposed and by acclamation. Neuendorf met with Zurich’s general secretary Fatma Samoura demanding more transparency.

Neuendorf explained: “FIFA established a subcommittee on human rights and Social Responsibility. This came all of a sudden. It was established in December. We didn’t know anything about it beforehand. It was just by chance that we got to know it. So who made the decision that this subcommittee was going to be established? Who decided who’s sitting in there? We don’t know all these things. That’s what I mean by transparency. That’s what I mean by openness. So this has to change at FIFA – these things should be communicated very openly to all the federations.”

At Congress, the FA president of Gibraltar Michael Llamas in his role as chair of the subcommittee said, responding to the Norwegian FA’s desire to address compensation for migrant workers in Qatar, that following an investigation FIFA will deliver a report. He said that “the World Cup has served as a catalyst for wider and important change in Qatar.”

“FIFA has to think about their attitude towards the federations,” said Neuendorf, who is running for a seat on the FIFA Council. “There should be more transparency.  That’s what I want.”

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