DFB rejects criticism of German football team’s flight to Switzerland

THE German football federation (DFB) has pushed back against criticism about a short flight its footballers took from Stuttgart to the Swiss city of Basel.

The German national team travelled to Switzerland by chartered plane for their second UEFA Nations League match on Sunday, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Electing to fly rather than travel around 260 kilometres by road or rail prompted criticism on social media and from reporters who questioned the environmental impact of the flight.

The DFB rejected the criticism, saying a bus would not have been possible for the players, as two- to three-hour stints sitting down would be damaging to their fitness and health.

Taking a train was also not an option due to the coronavirus rules, press spokesperson Jens Grittner said after the game against the Swiss.

The players would have had to change trains on the route.

This would have exposed them to too much contact outside of the team circle, which would have created a violation of coronavirus guidelines.

On its website the DFB has a page discussing “environment and climate change’’ in which it encourages clubs to behave sustainably.

Earlier this year, the DFB said it had joined a United Nations (UN) climate change initiative.

“Sometimes it’s the little things that add up to make a big difference,” the DFB previously said online.

But DFB director Oliver Bierhoff accepted with an explanation the criticism of coach Joachim Loew’s team flying to Switzerland from Stuttgart for the match.

“We can understand the critical voices and take on the resulting discussion as an opportunity to question how we can take the important aspects of the environment and sustainability more into account in our planning and decisions in the future,” Bierhoff said through the DFB website.

“In the preparation for the two international matches, we concentrated completely on the hygienic safety of the team and optimal conditions to ensure the physical regeneration of the players.

“From this point of view, the plane with a short flight-time was clearly the better choice over a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride or a train journey with connections.

“Out of responsibility towards the clubs, we also wanted to do everything on our part to ensure the players returned healthy.”


– Sept. 7, 2020 @17:41 GMT |

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