Former German FA boss wins preliminary court ruling in Qatar slander case

Judge to make final ruling in case over Theo Zwanziger referring to Qatar as a “cancerous growth of world football”
Former German FA boss wins preliminary court ruling in Qatar slander case
Theo Zwanziger, president of the German football association (DFB). (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Wed 03 Feb 2016 12:36 PM

A court has ruled in favour of Germany’s former football president in a slander case brought against him by Qatar Football Association (QFA).

In a preliminary ruling, a Dusseldorf court ruled on Tuesday that Theo Zwanziger, the former president of the German soccer federation, was within his right to free speech when he referred to Qatar as a “cancerous growth of world football”, AP reports

The judge in the case said he needed more time to consider the arguments put forward on behalf of the QFA, before making a final ruling on April 19 next.

Zwanziger, who headed the German football association (DFB) until 2012, was asked in a television interview last year whether the decision to let Qatar host the 2022 World Cup should be reviewed as corruption allegations hit world soccer's governing body FIFA.

Zwanziger told public broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk a review was "possible and necessary" and added: "I have always said that Qatar was a cancer on world football. It all started with that decision."

He argued in court that his comments were never intended to insult Qatar and its people, but were directed at the FIFA process that awarded the 2022 World Cup.

The QFA is seeking $109,000 (100,000 euros) in damages as well as a court order that bans Zwanziger from making similar comments in future.

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