Germany football team took a stand against FIFA during their opening match of the 2022 World Cup against Japan on Wednesday. The German players covered their mouths during the team photo on Wednesday to show their dissent over FIFA’s refusal to allow rainbow-themed armbands.
Germany have always been vocal about LGBTQ rights, however, governing body FIFA decided to bar players from wearing the “OneLove” armband.
Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear the anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament in Qatar as part of a campaign for diversity, but backed down over the threat of disciplinary action from football’s governing body, including yellow cards.
The rainbow armbands had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Germany’s football federation said in a tweet moments after the photo protest that “human rights are not negotiable”.
“This is not a political position; human rights are not negotiable,” the DFB tweeted.
Wir wollten mit unserer Kapitänsbinde ein Zeichen setzen für Werte, die wir in der Nationalmannschaft leben: Vielfalt und gegenseitiger Respekt. Gemeinsam mit anderen Nationen laut sein. Es geht dabei nicht um eine politische Botschaft: Menschenrechte sind nicht verhandelbar. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/v9ngfv0ShW— DFB-Team (@DFB_Team) November 23, 2022
“To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak,” the federation added.
It was a bold move from the German team as FIFA president Gianni Infantino was present at the stadium for the match and the players didn’t shy away to show their dissent.
The German government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said earlier in the day in Berlin that FIFA’s decision to bar captains from wearing the “OneLove” armbands was “very unfortunate”.
“The rights of LGBTQ people are non-negotiable,” Hebestreit said at a regular press conference.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who was to attend the game in Doha against Japan, said FIFA’s ban was a “huge mistake”.
Not only players, but fans should also be allowed to show pro-LGBTQ symbols “openly”, she told reporters in Qatar.
(With Agency Inputs)