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Germany ‘ready to pay fines’ over human rights stance at World Cup

German Football Association president Bernd Neuendorf said Friday the organisation was ready to face financial sanctions for taking a stand on human rights issues at the World Cup in Qatar.

DFB chief Neuendorf said he was “irritated” by statements made by FIFA in the run-up to the tournament, which starts on Sunday.

The world governing body earlier this month told the 32 participating teams to “focus on football” and avoid ideological battles.

The build-up to the World Cup has been dominated by concerns over the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community.

Neuendorf said he “did not want to rule out further actions” in support of human rights.

Captain Manuel Neuer has committed to wear a “One Love” armband to promote diversity and inclusion — along with skippers from several other European teams — with Neuendorf saying it was unclear whether FIFA would take action.

He said wearing the armband “was not a political declaration, but a statement (of support) for human rights”. 

“Should there be financial sanctions, I am personally ready to pay a fine,” he said.

He also reiterated that the DFB would not support the re-election of FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, who is running unopposed for a third term as head of the governing body.

“We need to send a signal,” he said. “His (Infantino’s) statement that human rights should not be focused on because of the World Cup, that really irritated me.”

Four-time winners Germany play their first game of the tournament against Japan on November 23. 

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