German striker Lukas Podolski has agreed to a 5,000 euro donation to the German Soccer Federation’s fair play initiative after his on-field slap to the face of team captain, Michael Ballack.
Lukas Podolski and Michael Ballack argue during the match against Wales.
No official sanctions have been issued against Podolski by the German Soccer Federation, the DFB, or the sport’s international governing body, FIFA. Instead, Podolski has admitted he acted like an “idiot” in last weeks World Cup qualifying match against Wales and has agreed to the donation for the DFB’s fair play initiative. The comments came in an interview with German tabloid newspaper Bild.
Podolski now considers the matter closed, and told Bild that “I have no problem with Michael Ballack. We’ve talked it over.”
Trainer Loew stood behind Ballack
The argument came after Ballack issued a tactical instruction to Podolski in the 67th minute of last Wednesday's World Cup qualifying match against Wales. Podolski was visibly angry with his captain's decision, and after a short argument, reached out an open hand and slapped Ballack on the cheek. Teammates Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm intervened, and Podolski was substituted immediately afterwards by national trainer Joachim Loew. No disciplinary measures were taken by the referee against Podolski during the match.
Captain must be respected
Loew said after the match that the issue had been resolved between the two players, but Podolski needs to learn to listen to his captain.
"If the captain gives a player a tactical instruction, then that player must obey," Loew said. "That is absolutely clear. Lukas has to listen to an experienced player like Michael Ballack."
Team captain Ballack said he wouldn't hold a grudge over the incident but added, "Lukas is a young player who still has a lot to learn."
DFB President Theo Zwanziger welcomed Podolski’s decision to donate to the fair play initiative.
Zwanziger said the donation is a “good and fitting gesture in view of his unacceptable behavior.“