Clichés should not be trusted. The president of the Danish Federation (DBU), Jesper Moller, was comfortably seated in the official gallery to watch the match against Tunisia (0-0), on Tuesday, alongside that of FIFA, Gianni Infantino. But the relationship between the two men, the two authorities, reached a breaking point.
The entire DBU staff met to agree on a strong message following the “One Love” armband affair, while FIFA threatened financial and sporting sanctions for any selection that risk wearing it.
“I am not disappointed, I am angry”
During an impromptu press conference on Wednesday at the national team’s base camp, Moller, accompanied by Jakob Jensen, the federation’s administrative director, and Peter Moller, the director of football, made it very clear : “What happened is deeply unjust, reprehensible. We will get legal clarification on these pressures. I’m not just disappointed. I’m mad. »
This reaction, decided on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, was concerted in an attempt to calm the spirits in Danish public opinion, while the presence of Moller alongside Infantino was strongly criticized in the country and that the decision to give in to FIFA’s threats was not understood. Moller therefore supported: “We are not one of the 207 member states out of the total 211 that support Gianni Infantino as FIFA President next year. »
The coach, Kasper Hjulmand, was certainly finally waiting for a clearer message from his leaders, as were his players, like captain Simon Kjaer, who has often called in recent days “those who decide to speak out”. It is now done, and the Danish delegation even received significant visual support on Tuesday evening.
The former Danish Prime Minister shows her support
Invited to the match against Tunisia, the former Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, came to the Cité de l’Éducation stadium wearing a blue dress with… rainbow sleeves. And if she had to explain that it was not a critical message towards the selection, which finally gave up wearing the armband, it had to be seen as a form of support.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Danish Prime Minister, Tuesday during Denmark-Tunisia (0-0). (Ritzau Scanpix/Via Reuters)
These supports from the highest state and federation officials, Simon Kjaer had been waiting for them for a long time, a way of allowing players not to be alone on the front line on these social issues, even if he still qualified as ” ridiculous “ FIFA’s position on the rainbow armband.
The DBU president concluded the deal by referring to upcoming discussions with the other European federations: “We need political clarification now. We will react together with the other six countries (Belgium, Germany, Wales, Netherlands, Switzerland, England) who had considered playing with the armband. »
France, which had participated in this initiative during the League of Nations matches in September, did not wish to do so for this World Cup in Qatar. Do the Danes regret a lack of support from the FFF? “I’m not going to speak for the others.Hjulmand replied on Wednesday. Now is the time to focus on football, to prepare as well as possible for this match against France. This is the last time I speak of this. »