German broadcaster in the eye of a storm over ‘racist’ survey on national football team

Germany players after their loss against Japan || Photo Credit: Daily Mail

German broadcaster in the eye of a storm over ‘racist’ survey on national football team

Joel Omotto 19:37 - 03.06.2024

There is an outcry in Germany against the country’s national broadcaster after it conducted a survey deemed racist on the national team as it prepares to host Euro 2024.

Germany's public broadcaster ARD has faced widespread condemnation after conducting a survey that revealed a troubling sentiment among respondents.

The survey, which polled 1304 individuals, found that 21 percent expressed a preference for more players with white skin on Germany's national football team.

The revelation sparked outrage, with two prominent figures from the German national team, head coach Julian Nagelsmann and midfielder Joshua Kimmich, speaking out against the survey's implications.

Nagelsmann, addressing reporters at the team's training camp for the Euro 2024 tournament, condemned the survey as "racist" and emphasised the inclusive nature of football. He expressed shock at its organisation and stressed the need for societal awareness and action.

“We’re playing a European Championship for everyone in the country" he said, before adding that the survey was "racist, … I feel that we need to wake up.”

Kimmich echoed Nagelsmann's sentiments, denouncing the survey as "absolutely racist" and highlighting football's role in uniting people of diverse backgrounds. He emphasised the sport's ability to transcend differences in nationality, skin color, and religion.

"Anyone who’s grown up with soccer knows this is absolute nonsense. Soccer in particular is a good example of how you can unite different nations, different skin colours and different religions" said Kimmich.

Both Nagelsmann and Kimmich expressed hope that such surveys would not resurface in the future, underscoring the importance of promoting unity and inclusivity in football and beyond.

The survey was commissioned for ARD's upcoming documentary "Unity and Justice and Diversity," scheduled for broadcast on Wednesday. The documentary aims to shed light on racism experienced by current and former national team players in German football stadiums.

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Gerald Asamoah, a former national team player who migrated from Ghana and experienced racism firsthand, shared his experiences in the documentary's preview. He recounted being subjected to racial insults, including the frequent use of derogatory language, during his early career.

Despite the troubling findings of the survey, the majority of respondents (65 percent) expressed disagreement or tended to disagree with the statement. However, there was a notable divide among political affiliations, with supporters of Germany's far-right AfD party largely aligning with the sentiment.

As Germany prepares to host the Euro 2024 tournament, the focus remains on combating racism and promoting inclusivity in football. The national team's warm-up games against Ukraine and Greece, followed by the tournament's opening match against Scotland, serve as opportunities to reaffirm the sport's values of unity and diversity.

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