German national team cover mouths in World Cup protest

German national team cover mouths in World Cup protest
Credit: German National Team/Twitter

In protest against the sanctions imposed by FIFA on players who wear the 'One Love' armband for LGBTQ rights during the World Cup in Qatar, all players of the German team covered their mouths in the group photo before their match against Japan on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the German football association DFB stated that it would consider going to the International Sports Tribunal TAS to challenge FIFA's sporting sanctions – such as a yellow card – against the 'One Love' captain's band.

"With a great threat, FIFA has prohibited us from sending a signal for diversity and human rights. The DFB is investigating whether this action by FIFA is lawful," a spokesperson.

Accompanied by the group photo of the players covering their mouths, the team shared a post on its social media channels stating that it wanted to use the rainbow-coloured armband to take a stand for values that it holds dear: diversity and mutual respect.

"Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard. It was not about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable," the team said. "That should be taken for granted, but it still is not the case. That is why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position."

Additionally, six of Germany’s starting players, including goalkeeper and team captain Manuel Neuer, wore rainbow colours on their shoes, and the sleeves of the entire team's warm-up kit had rainbow stripes as well in a statement of defiance.

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Their message was reinforced by the German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who wore a One Love armband as she sat next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the stands.

Meanwhile on social media, people are questioning whether the Belgian Red Devils will make a similar statement, as they were also among the seven teams (in addition to England, Wales, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands) banned by FIFA from wearing the armband.

The Red Devils are playing Canada tonight at 20:00 Belgian time.

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