German football has been hit by controversy after the agent of injured captain Michael Ballack was reported to have described the World Cup team as a “bunch of gays”.
Michael Becker, who has been an advisor to Ballack, who did not play in the competition, since 1999, made the comments two months ago, news magazine Der Spiegel reports.
Writer Aleksander Osang said he had interviewed Mr Becker before Germany finished third in the World Cup and claimed the agent told him which players in the team were gay.
Mr Becker allegedly said that a former national player was ready to reveal the “bunch of gays” in the team and referred to one new team member as “half gay”.
Mr Osang went on to claim that Mr Becker said the homosexuality of the team had contributed to its new style of playing.
Team coach Joachim Löw’s style has been described as more graceful and lighter than the team’s previous, more aggressive, style.
Mr Osang said that when other sports journalists present heard Mr Becker’s remarks about gay players on the team, he expected them to become excited.
“But they only nodded placidly,” he said. “All sports journalists seemed to already know the alleged homosexual conspiracies enveloping Löw’s team. The rumours accompanied our team to South Africa and evidently belong to the team.”
Mr Becker has not denied making the comments. However, he said the interview was not “authorised”. In Germany, subjects are given the option of seeing interviews before they are published and approving their own quotes.
Mr Osang says he stands by his story and has “unbelievable” stories told to him by Mr Becker in his notebook.
Germany has never had an out gay top-level footballer. Erfurt Marcus Urban came out after he retired, although he was a regional division player and never played for his country.
In March, former German football manager Rudi Assauer sparked outrage after saying gay men should not play football because they would be ridiculed.
His comments outraged German gay groups, with the Gay and Lesbian Federation saying they were “beneath contempt”.
He said: “Perhaps [gays] are okay in other sports but not in football.
“If a player came to me and said he was gay I would say to him: ‘You have shown courage’. But then I would tell him to find something else to do.”