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German soccer team slammed for short flight to Switzerland

September 7, 2020

The German national football team is facing criticism for the environmental impact of a short-hop flight from Stuttgart to Basel. The team said a train journey was impossible because of coronavirus restrictions.

The German team in Switzerland
Image: Getty Images/M. Hangst

The German Football Federation (DFB) pushed back Monday against criticism about a short flight its footballers took from Stuttgart to Basel in Switzerland.

The German national team traveled to the Swiss city by a chartered plane for their second Nations League match on Sunday, a distance of only 260 kilometers (162 miles).

German media questioned the environmental impact of choosing not to travel by road or rail.

The DFB said a bus would not have been possible, as such a long stint would have been damaging for their fitness and health. Coronavirus regulations made the option of taking a train difficult, they added.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Read more: Welcome to the world's greenest soccer club

'We understand the criticism'

DFB's national team director Oliver Bierhoff appeared to accept some of the criticism leveled at his team.

"We can understand the criticism," he said according to remarks published on the team's Twitter account. "We will be using this opportunity to ask ourselves how we can take sustainability and environmentalism more into account in our future plans."

In order to travel by rail, trains would have had to change trains, putting them at risk of exposure, the team said.

The DFB joined a United Nations climate change initiative earlier this year.

ed/rc (dpa, SID)