DOHA—German players put their hands to their mouths as they took a team photo ahead of their game against Japan for the World Cup Group E on Wednesday, amid controversy over FIFA’s threat of sanctions against the “OneLove” armband.
Before kickoff, all German players joined in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch after the world football organization FIFA threatened seven European teams with sanctions if they wore the armband that symbolizes diversity and tolerance.
Sitting next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the stands, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore an armband while chatting with the football manager.
He had previously criticized FIFA, saying the threat of sanctions was a mistake and unacceptable behavior.
“This is not true, how are the federations being put under pressure,” Faeser said during a visit to a German FA event in Doha before the game.
“It is incomprehensible that FIFA today does not want people to be openly tolerant and against discrimination. It does not suit our time, it does not suit people.”
In a statement from the German Football Federation (DFB), “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for diversity and mutual respect, which are the values we have in the German national team. Together with other nations, we wanted our voices to be heard.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. This should be taken lightly, but still, this is not the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Depriving us of an armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand behind our position.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
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