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German Head Coach Julian Nagelsmann Condemns ‘Racist’ Survey on National Football Team

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BERLIN, Germany — Julian Nagelsmann, the head coach of Germany’s national football team, has strongly condemned a recent survey conducted by the ARD public broadcaster.

The survey asked participants if they preferred seeing more white players on the national team.

Nagelsmann labelled the survey as “racist” and expressed deep concern over the implications of such questions in contemporary Europe.

The survey results revealed that 21% of respondents agreed with the proposition, sparking a heated debate.

“It is racist. I feel we need to wake up. Many people in Europe had to flee… searching for a safe country,” Nagelsmann stated on Sunday, June 9, 2024.

His comments echoed those of Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich, who had also criticized the survey as “racist” the previous day.

“Josh [Kimmich] responded really well, with a very clear and thought-out statement,” Nagelsmann said at a briefing at his team’s training base.

“I see this in exactly the same way. This question is insane. There are people in Europe who’ve had to flee because of war, economic factors, environmental disasters, people who simply want to be taken in.

“We have to ask what are we doing at the moment? We in Germany are doing very, very well, and when we say something like that, I think it’s crazy how we turn a blind eye and simply block out such things.”

ARD, the German public broadcaster responsible for commissioning the poll, justified the survey by claiming it sought measurable data after a reporter working on a documentary on football and diversity faced numerous questions about the composition of the national team.

The poll was conducted among 1,304 randomly selected respondents.

Karl Valks, ARD’s sports director, expressed dismay over the results but acknowledged that they reflect the current social climate in Germany.

“Sport plays an important role in our society, the national team is a strong example of integration,” Valks stated, emphasizing the significance of sports in promoting unity and diversity.

The current German national team includes several players with mixed heritage, such as captain Ilkay Gündogan and winger Leroy Sané.

With Germany set to host the Euro 2024 tournament later this month, Nagelsmann emphasised that his team represents everyone in the country.

The tournament will kick off with Germany facing Scotland at Munich’s Allianz Arena on June 14.

This controversy arises just weeks after Adidas, the team’s kit manufacturer, had to ban fans from purchasing German football kits customized with the number 44.

Media reports highlighted the number’s resemblance to symbols used by Nazi SS units during World War II, infamous for their roles in crimes against humanity, including administering death camps where millions of Jews and others were murdered.

The debate underscores the ongoing challenges and sensitivities surrounding issues of race and heritage in German football, as the nation prepares to welcome teams and fans from across Europe for the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament.

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