After criticism of the DFB charter flight: Bierhoff wants to pay more attention to the environment

Because she had traveled a short distance of 260 kilometers in a charter plane, criticism of the national soccer team rained. Now DFB Director Bierhoff admits: You have to question yourself more.

After the public criticism of the short charter flight of the national soccer players from Stuttgart to Basel, DFB director Oliver Bierhoff has announced consequences for future travel plans. “We can understand the critical voices and take the resulting discussion as an opportunity to question how we can take the important aspects of the environment and sustainability into account more in our planning and decisions in the future,” said Bierhoff on the homepage of the German Football Association (DFB ) cited.

At the same time, the former international striker defended the controversial processes between the Nations League games on Thursday in Stuttgart against Spain (1: 1) and on Sunday in Basel against Switzerland (1: 1). “In preparation for the two internationals, we had fully concentrated on hygiene safety for the team and optimal conditions to ensure the physical regeneration of the players,” said Bierhoff. Therefore, the plane was the better choice than bus or train. Bierhoff noted that they wanted to take care of the players’ health out of responsibility towards the clubs.

“Sitting is not optimal for regeneration”

National player Thilo Kehrer also pointed out the better chance of regeneration. “It makes a difference whether you sit for three or three and a half hours or 45 minutes. Sitting or not moving is not optimal for regeneration,” said the Paris Saint-Germain professional.

The DFB entourage traveled by charter flight from Stuttgart to Basel on Saturday instead of covering the 260 kilometers more environmentally friendly by road or rail. There was criticism in the social media, from the ZDF reporter in the live broadcast of the Switzerland game and then from ex-world champion Per Mertesacker in his role as a TV expert.

UEFA recommends charter flights due to Corona

Even after the game in Basel, DFB press spokesman Jens Grittner said that traveling by bus was not possible for the players for reasons of regeneration, as sitting for two to three hours would have endangered their fitness and health. The train as a means of transport was out of the question because of the Corona hygiene rules. The players would have had too many contacts outside of the team circle due to the changes required on the route.

When arriving by charter plane, the DFB followed the recommendation made by UEFA in its hygiene protocol to avoid corona infections. The European umbrella organization even reserves the right to make charter flights compulsory for some competitions. The next trips to away games for the national team will be to Kiev in Ukraine in October and to Spain in November.


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