FunAstrologyOligarchs in the Ukraine war: Abramovich "unwraps the presents"

Oligarchs in the Ukraine war: Abramovich "unwraps the presents"

Markus Lanz’s ZDF talk is also about the Ukraine war. This time the focus is on the Russian oligarchs, especially Roman Abramovich.

These are days of mourning in this country. Not only because of the Russian war of aggression, which caused a great wave of sympathy among our population for the Ukraine struggling for their freedom and survival, but also in German football. First of all, football world champion and Eintracht Frankfurt legend Jürgen Grabowski died on March 10, 2022 at the age of 77, a true gentleman on and off the field, which will be confirmed by everyone who had the honor of knowing him personally.

Then yesterday (March 16th, 2022) it was time to say goodbye to ex-DFB President Egidius Braun, who always promoted women’s football and took care of needy young people in his foundation named after him. After all, he reached the biblical age of 97. These two greats were not mentioned by a syllable in Markus Lanz’s midnight program, although when it comes to the topics of money laundering and corruption in professional football, both are seen as positive alternatives to the ever-advancing, alarming development of what was once “the most beautiful minor matter of the world”. In addition, Sebastian Kneißl, a former player from Eintracht Frankfurt, was a guest on the show.

The Ukraine war is the subject of Markus Lanz’s ZDF talk show: Abramovich in close-up

Have you never heard the last name? At the turn of the millennium he was considered one of the most promising young talents. The midfielder came to the Eintracht Frankfurt sports community (SGE for short) in 1998 via FC Bensheim, played several games for the U-15 national team and then successfully switched to the U-18 team. From Frankfurt he went to London in 2000, to Chelsea FC. If you want to exaggerate it, Roman Abramowitsch of all people prevented the next German world star.

He was just about to jump into the first team, says the current expert on the DAZN streaming service. But with the takeover of the club by the Russian oligarch, many expensive, already famous kickers were bought, so he was no longer considered. The moderator, who was poorly prepared here, does not mention that Kneißl, who was quickly loaned out to the Scottish club FC Dundee and then to Belgium to KVC Westerlo, did not make the final breakthrough elsewhere either. Maybe he doesn’t care either. A close-up of Abramovich by the former professional player is more important to him: “It was one of us right away. That was nice. On the other hand, we thought: now someone is going to open their presents!”

The guests in the ZDF talk by Markus Lanz (03/16/2022)

Diana Zimmerman journalist
Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling author
Sebastian Kneissl Ex-soccer pro

The 55-year-old Saratov-born billionaire is facing increasingly stringent sanctions from the UK and EU, particularly as the owner of current Champions League holders Chelsea FC, who thrived on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win at Lille OSC again qualified for the quarterfinals of the current season. Due to the conditions, Abramowitsch is no longer active in the operational business of the traditional English club.

We remember: In 2003 Abramovich bought Chelsea FC for 210 million euros. By 2008 he had invested an estimated €764m in the club, mainly for transfer fees and salaries. He himself was often present at the stadium at Stamford Bridge. His club won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 2012 after numerous attempts against FC Bayern Munich. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Abramovich handed over the administration of Chelsea FC to the trustees of his charitable foundation. On March 2, 2022, he announced that he wanted to sell the club. The proceeds should benefit victims of the Ukraine conflict. Chelsea FC, which has a loan of £1.5bn, is estimated to be worth at least £2bn.

Markus Lanz (ZDF): Abramowitsch is said to be in Moscow

By the way, the inclined TV viewer does not get all this information from Lanz! But from Diana Zimmermann, the ZDF correspondent from “Londongrad”, who this time is a guest in the studio in Hamburg-Altona, that Abramovich should now be in Moscow after a stay in Israel. In times of “necessity” (purely a matter of definition!), he seems to seek contact with Putin again. According to British law, which has been tightened even further, sanctioned Russian oligarchs, including the “football fanatic” who, according to the business magazine Forbes, is the 107th richest person in the world, are no longer allowed to enter into business relationships with Britons. That means you don’t have to pay them any more fees. Hence his withdrawal. Chelsea FC has wage costs of 28 million (!) British pounds per month…

That’s why “Saudi Arabia is already knocking on the door,” says sports journalist Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling, the third in the group of Lanz’ guests. For the always well researching author, whose volume “FC Bayern and its Jews” was awarded the “German Football Culture Prize” in the category “Football Book of the Year” in 2011, British professional football, the European football association UEFA and The world football association FIFA is also “heavily dependent on dirty money” flowing to them from Russia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. While Schulze-Marmeling, using Abramowitsch as an example, expresses the suspicion that he could have bought the association as a kind of “life insurance”, for example in order to obtain asylum in England in an emergency, Zimmermann puts forward the speculative, on the one hand, almost logical thesis, the shady businessman may have bought Chelsea on Vladimir Putin’s behalf. Because in the sense of “soft power” it has long been helpful for the Russian President to have “sympathetic Russians in London”.

Football is the focus of Markus Lanz (ZDF).

Schulze-Marmeling then went on the offensive against the Newcastle United fans, who Markus Lanz described as “a bit dull”: They would have no problem with the fact that their club, which is bobbing around in the lower regions of the Premier League, is now owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia located. They would happily wave the Saudi national flag, on which a sword could be seen. They would have done so themselves on the day 81 people were executed in Saudi Arabia. Not just since Brexit, in another kingdom, namely the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the clocks seem to be ticking differently, especially when it comes to human rights issues. Because foreign owners of British clubs would be checked, “but human rights play no role,” said Schulze-Marmeling.

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino does not seem to take this into account either: The Swiss-Italian official is “seen in photos almost exclusively with autocrats and oligarchs”. While for Lanz, the moderator with his own opinion, Jürgen Klopp, the German coach of Liverpool FC, would deal self-critically with the development of “dirty money” in professional football, Thomas Tuchel, the current coach of Chelsea FC, acted as if if none of this concerned him. Schuze-Marmeling defends him: Tuchel would be “tied” to Abramovich by the club, while “everything would be fine” at Liverpool. You could make other statements there. He’s right here, but before signing a contract with Chelsea FC, did Tuchel question what he was getting himself into? Or did he only focus on big money and sporting success? To discuss this, tonight’s broadcast time, which is limited to only 45 minutes, is not enough.

Lanz Talk on ZDF: What the sanctions against Abramovich are all about

In the remaining minutes, Zimmermann finds the sanctions against Abramovich and Co. “populist”. Unfortunately, she does not carry out this discussion-worthy idea. For Schulze-Marmeling, soccer players would have been drummed into it for decades: “Don’t get involved in politics!” As a prominent example, he cites the 1978 soccer World Cup in Argentina, where the remaining participants simply accepted the military junta. We remember the incredibly brutal sentence by General Jorge Rafael Videla: “As many people as necessary have to die in Argentina so that the country is safe again!” Jürgen Grabowski, the midfield strategist of the Frankfurt team, did not take part in this World Cup although national coach Helmut Schön had formally begged him to do so.

Markus Lanz on ZDF

Broadcast on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, media library

Lanz doesn’t believe in the “cliché of the simple football player” anyway. Not yesterday and especially not today. He insists on positively emphasizing the former captain of the Finnish national team, whom he does not name (or knows?), by the way it is Tim Sparv. Last year, in a remarkable op-ed piece in The Players Tribune, he appealed “to anyone interested in human rights.” In the open letter, he addressed all players, associations, fans and journalists and asked them to continue talking about human rights violations and working conditions in Qatar. “Keep the discussion going. Keep expressing your support for the migrant workers. Put more pressure on Qatar and FIFA,” Sparv wrote. According to a report by The Guardian, 6,500 workers from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have died there since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar.

Even if there is no direct money laundering in the Bundesliga, there is in Germany. Lanz finally tries to bridge the gap between corruption in football and global money laundering. “We don’t want to know exactly who the owner is either,” he criticizes, referring to ominous properties on Lake Tegernsee. “The trickle-down economy didn’t work,” he agrees with Zimmermann, who, together with Marcel Mettelsiefen, received the 2015 Adolf Grimme Prize and the 2016 Rory Peck Award for “The Fate of the Children of Aleppo”. And the reviewer would like to conclude by quoting Egidius Braun: “Football is more than a 1-0.” (Marc Hairapetian)

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