Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann criticises ‘racist survey’ ahead of Euro 2024

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A recent survey by the German public broadcaster has fueled a lot of criticism in the country as it suggested that 21% of respondents agreed that they wanted to see more white players on the national football team. The dispute arose only a few weeks after Adidas, the team’s kit maker, banned supporters from purchasing German football shirts embroidered with the number 44 due to the number’s striking similarity to the emblem of Nazi SS units from World War II, as brought to light by the national media.

“It is racist. I feel we need to wake up. Many people in Europe had to flee.. searching for a safe country,” Nagelsmann told reporters. “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,” added the 36-year-old head coach.

Nagelsmann stood by the comments of the German midfield anchor, who is also known to excel at the right-back position, Joshua Kimmich’s comments on the matter. “Anyone who’s grown up with football knows this is absolute nonsense. Football in particular is a good example of how you can unite different nations, different skin colors and different religions. That’s what our team is all about. I would miss a lot of players if they weren’t here. This is absolutely racist and has no place in our changing room,” Kimmich had said.

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“Josh (Kimmich) responded really well, with a very clear and thought-out statement, I see this in exactly the same way. This question is insane,” added Nagelsmann. Germany will be looking to look past the recent controversy as they get set to host Euro 2024, their first international tournament since the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The host country will be opening the tournament on June 15 (IST) against Scotland as they look to improve on their recent outings in major tournaments. Germany has suffered eliminations in the semifinals of the 2016 Euros, round of 16 in the 2020 Euros and group stage eliminations in both the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups following their World Cup victory in 2014.