Former West Germany international Guenter Netzer says powerful football nations must help smaller countries develop.
Netzer wrote an article in Bild after Germany overcame Kazakhstan 3-0 on Friday thanks to goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Goetze and Thomas Mueller.
The 68-year-old German insisted even countries like Kazakhstan must have a powerful voice and be encouraged to improve.
“These smaller nations are indeed called minnows, but they are politically important because in referenda and elections their votes have the same weight as the great nations of the world,” Netzer said.
“You must ensure that there is not just an elite class, but the requirement that football can develop even in small nations. That is the essential contribution of the elite class of football society – not only to pursue their own interests, but to look after the welfare of the community.”
Netzer, who secured 37 caps in his career, believes his argument is strengthened by the fact that any team is capable of causing an upset.
“Minnows can become an unexpected stumbling block,” he said.
“The annals of football history are filled with these cases and decades flooded with scorn and derision. I will never forget, as when I played with the German national team in 1967, the 0-0 in the European Championship qualifier against Albania.
“Solidarity in football is necessary, even if it does not always work.
“An example is the German Bundesliga, where the big clubs show solidarity in the distribution of TV money. They could, because of their market value, in a single move achieve significantly higher revenue. In other countries this is practiced.
“But in Germany the great solidarity within the league supports the development of smaller clubs that have low requirements and opportunities to achieve higher revenue and goals.”