Germany players cover mouths in team photo amid OneLove armband row

Germany’s players covered their mouths in a team photo ahead of their World Cup Group E game against Japan on Wednesday, amid rows over FIFA’s threat of sanctions over the OneLove armband.

All German players took part in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch before kick-off after world football’s governing body FIFA threatened sanctions against seven European teams if they wore the armband, which symbolized diversity and tolerance.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, sitting in the stands next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, wore the armband as she chatted with the football administrator.

She previously criticized FIFA, saying the threat of sanctions was a mistake and not acceptable behavior.

“It’s not okay how associations are put under pressure,” Faeser said before the game while attending a DFB event in Doha, Qatar.

“In this day and age, it’s incomprehensible that FIFA doesn’t want people to speak out openly about tolerance and against discrimination. That doesn’t fit our time and isn’t appropriate for people.”

A statement by the German Football Association (DFB) states: “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to set an example for the values ​​that we represent in the German national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations we wanted to raise our voice.” to be heard.

“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should go without saying, but it isn’t. That is why this message is so important to us. Denying us an armband is the same as denying us a vote. We stand by our position.”

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar.

Netherlands striker Davvy Klaassen said his side could join Germany in the pre-game protest but haven’t made a decision yet.

“Of course, as a group, we are considering making such a statement. It has to be in a good way,” said Klaassen. “I think what the Germans have done now… it’s an original way of getting the message across. I thought that was a nice expression from the Germans.” Germany players cover mouths in team photo amid OneLove armband row

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