German players were forbidden from wearing anti-discrimination armbands at the World Cup
German footballers signaled their opposition to FIFA’s ban on players wearing anti-discrimination armbands in Qatar by covering their mouths in their official team photo prior to their FIFA World Cup Group E fixture with Japan.
Germany was among several European teams which intended to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband to highlight instances of human rights abuses and discrimination before a FIFA directive earlier this week revealed that players could face potential sanctions if they were to wear items not officially authorized by world football’s governing body.
FIFA has stated that its decision was based upon a belief that politics should be kept out of sport and has instituted its own ‘No Discrimination’ campaign to take place in Qatar.
German manager, Hansi Flick, appeared to suggest before the game that his players had planned some sort of protest, with a subsequent statement from the German FA (DFB) confirming that the gesture was entirely the decision of the players.
“With our captain’s armband, we wanted to set an example for values that we live in the national team: diversity and mutual respect. Be loud together with other nations. This is not about a political message: human rights are non-negotiable,” the DFB statement said.
“That should go without saying. Unfortunately, it still isn’t. That is why this message is so important to us. Banning us from the [armband] is like banning our mouths. Our stance stands.”
The protest comes after the DFB openly questioned the legality of FIFA mandating that footballers were not permitted to adopt an anti-discrimination symbol, and said that they were considering bringing the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to seek clarification on FIFA’s authority to impose sanctions for protests in support of free speech and human rights.
“FIFA has forbidden us from using a symbol of diversity and human rights,” DFB media director Steffen Simon said this week.
“They combined this with massive threats of sporting sanctions without specifying them. The DFB is checking whether this action by FIFA was legal.”
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