Germany coach blasts ‘racist’ squad poll: ‘Wake up’

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said he’s shocked that a public broadcaster asked participants in a survey if they would prefer more white players in the national soccer team.

Nagelsmann agreed Sunday with midfielder Joshua Kimmich‘s comments the day before that the survey for German state broadcaster ARD was “absolutely racist” and said it was “madness for a public broadcaster to ask such a question.”

The survey of 1,304 randomly selected participants found 21% would prefer it if more players with white skin were playing for Germany.

“I thought about it briefly and I have the feeling that we need to wake up a bit,” Nagelsmann said at the team’s training camp for the upcoming European Championship. “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.”

Nagelsmann said Kimmich was correct when he said a soccer team can be a role model for how different cultures, religious backgrounds and skin colors can join in a group to work together for major goals.

“I always find it bizarre that we all go on vacation to get to know other cultures and then other cultures come here and we complain about it. It’s bizarre,” Nagelsmann said. “So, I can’t go on vacation then, I always have to stay where I am.”

Nagelsmann agreed with Kimmich that he does not want to do without any of the players he nominated in his squad, which includes Black players.

“It’s good as it is,” Nagelsmann said. “We’re playing a European Championship for everyone in the country. And anyone who can play top football is invited to be a national player and give their all for their country. And that’s what we’re doing. And I hope I never have to read about such a [expletive] survey again.”

The broadcaster said a reporter working on an ARD documentary on football and diversity was repeatedly confronted with statements about the makeup of the team during the making of the documentary. It said it commissioned the poll in order to have measurable facts on such statements.

Germany play Ukraine on Monday in their first warmup game for Euro 2024. They play Greece for their next friendly on Friday in Mönchengladbach.

The host nation gets the tournament underway June 14 in Group A play against Scotland in Munich and then plays Hungary in Stuttgart on June 19 and Switzerland in Frankfurt on June 23.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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