Germany players cover mouths to protest against FIFA's 'One Love' armband bantext_fields
Qatar: At the World Cup, German players covered their mouths for their team photo in protest against FIFA's refusal to allow rainbow-themed armbands. The team was posing before their World Cup opener against Japan.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino was at the Khalifa International Stadium for the Germany-Japan match.
The rainbow armbands are being viewed as a symbolic protest against Qatar's laws against homosexuality. Security staff at the Qatar World Cup are ordered to remove items featuring rainbow logos.
Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear the anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament as part of a campaign for diversity. FIFA issued the threat of disciplinary action including yellow cards against them which forced players to back down, reported AFP.
Belgium's Jan Vertonghen said he is "afraid" to talk about human rights in Qatar. "I'm afraid if I say something about this I might not be able to play tomorrow. It's an experience I've never felt in football before. I feel controlled. I'm afraid to even say something about this. We're just saying normal things about racism and discrimination and if you can't even say things about it, that says it all. I want to appear on the pitch tomorrow, so I'll leave it at that," said the defender.
Germany's football federation tweeted after the photo protest: "Human rights are not negotiable. This is not a political position. To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak."
The German government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit said FIFA's decision to ban the "OneLove'' armbands is "very unfortunate." Speaking to the media, he said: "The rights of LGBTQ people are non-negotiable." German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called the ban a "huge mistake." She added that fans should also be allowed to show pro-LGBTQ symbols "openly." She was in Doha to attend the game.