Three quarters of a century after one of the bloodiest battles of World War Two, the German Football Association (DFB) wants to use football to "build bridges." Germany has also revealed its Euro 2024 bid logo.
The German Football Association (DFB) wants to use the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer to "build bridges between people," according to its president, Reinhard Grindel.
"The [German national] team will be at the World Cup to win the title again – that has priority," he said, speaking at the team's headquarters in Mainz ahead of Sunday's final qualifying match against Azerbaijan in Kaiserslautern.
"But if it's possible to send a socio-political signal at the same time, then this should happen."
Next summer's tournament will mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the Second World War. For five months between August 1942 and Feburary 1943, German and Soviet forces fought bitter street battles for control of what is now called Volgograd in southern Russia, resulting in almost two million casualties on both sides.
To commemorate the battle, a number of football-related events have been organized, including a match between Germany's and Russia's under-18 teams on May 8. The following day, the two sets of players will visit war memorials and attend the Russian cup final in the city.
"It has an extraordinary symbolic value," said Grindel. "Despite the historical burden, new friendships can be created."
Germany reveals Euro 2024 bid logo
Together with national team coach Joachim Löw, Grindel also unveiled the logo for Germany's 2024 European Championship bid.
More than 2,000 entries were submitted as part of a public design competition and the winner, voted for by over 50,000 people, came from Igor Petrovic from Serbia. Petrovic's design features two hearts and the number 24 in the German national colors - black, red and gold.
"Euro 2024 should be a tournament for all the people of Europe in a time where too much focus is being placed on individual nations," explained Grindel.
"Hosting a tournament in your own country electrifies everyone," said coach Löw, remembering the so-called "Fairytale" 2006 World Cup in Germany which has since been tarnished by allegations of corruption. "It would be great for all of us," he added.
mf/mp (dpa, sid)