Former DFL Managing Director Andreas Rettig has once again urged politicians to give professional football appropriate protection as a cultural asset. “As a cultural asset worthy of protection, professional football must enjoy the same protection as critical infrastructure, the media or other relevant areas,” said the 59-year-old in an interview with the Cologne City Gazette (Monday edition).
The long-standing Bundesliga manager had previously spoken to former Economics Minister Peter Altmaier about this protection. He understood the problem, “but hid behind the autonomy of the sport,” says Rettig. Nevertheless, he would make the demand again today.
The takeover of more and more clubs by state-related investors from Qatar or Saudi Arabia in European football is a thorn in Rettig’s side: “We are experiencing a conflict between democracy and autocracy. It’s being played out through football does not entail a much greater outcry.” The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is an example of how an autocratic system that does not respect human rights used football as a stage to celebrate. Rettig: “Even with success.”
Only civil society can bring about changes, football itself cannot prevent this: “Therefore there must be social pressure to withhold such tournaments from dictatorships and autocracies.”
Football will not be able to renew itself on its own. Rettig: “I never dreamed that I would say: Politicians have to help football with directives. The market doesn’t regulate that.”