Steinmeier’s football jersey – a very strange number

Steinmeier’s football jersey – a very strange number

France’s president was in Germany for an official state visit for three days. Our author didn’t find the event particularly exciting – until she went looking for Steinmeier’s number.

This text was actually supposed to be a quick report. On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier exchanged football shirts from their respective national teams in front of the Brandenburg Gate. And on the online service X, users had nothing better to do than puzzle over the ominous numbers on the backs. Please do some quick research on this, was the order from my boss.

Their wish is my salary. So I did some research, but both Google and the press page of the Federal President’s Office initially failed to answer me. A written request remained unanswered for hours, and a phone call did not help me. The press spokesperson sounded irritated because the star stuck on a seemingly irrelevant number. I was almost a little embarrassed to even call her about it.

But Steinmeier’s spokeswoman assured me that the question would be investigated. Meanwhile, I was puzzling over it at my desk. At least Macron’s jersey number was somehow clear: The 24 could stand for this sporting year – the European Football Championship in Germany and the Olympic Games in Paris. Or for his official state visit to Germany this year, 2024. As a political whiz, you can also read the number as a reference to the last official state visit by a French president. That was exactly 24 years ago. And for the hardcore football fans: In the current squad of France’s national team, Aurélien Djani Tchouameni last wore the number 24. The defensive midfielder is under contract with Real Madrid, but according to transfermarkt.de, is currently suffering from a foot injury. Also not someone who suggests any analogies.

Nobody knows Steinmeier’s number

Call back from the Federal President’s Office: Macron’s jersey is indeed from the sports year 2024. But Steinmeier’s number also puzzled the press office. Would I like to try the Federal Ministry of the Interior? They are responsible for such things, especially since Steinmeier’s jersey was a gift from the Elysée Palace.

The BMI referred me in writing to the BPA. And that did not mean the Federal President’s Office, but the Federal Press Office. What Olaf Scholz’s spokesman was supposed to tell me about the Steinmeier issue was a mystery to me. The issue, if it ever was one, had been around for four days now – half an eternity in the news world. Macron had long since returned to France and our Federal President was attending the Catholic Convention in Erfurt. That would actually have been a good point to drop the issue.

But now I wanted to know more than ever. It couldn’t be that nobody knew what Steinmeier and Macron had exchanged in such a symbolic way in front of the Brandenburg Gate?!

Book flop and kebab cliché: What is wrong with our Federal President?

Book flop and kebab cliché: What is going on with the Federal President?


The numerical vicious circle

While I waited for a response, I continued searching the internet for answers. The first European Football Championship took place in 1960, so Steinmeier’s 56 could not refer to that. The Summer Olympics were hosted by Australia that year, but the Soviet Union, the USA and the hosts won most of the medals. And the German national football team has never worn the number 56. The DFB has limited the numbering to digits up to 40. However, Steinmeier was born in 1956. Was that the answer to the riddle? Compared to the numerous interpretations of Macron’s number, that would at least be plausible, if not unimaginative.

Call back from the BPA: had I already tried the Federal President’s Office, they are responsible for it. I had. And the BMI? There too. Then it would be best to ask the Elysée Palace. After all, the gift came from there.

Answer: pending. To be continued – maybe.

Source: Stern

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