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Germany players cover their mouths in protest against FIFA’s armband ban, ahead of the Japan match

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DOHA, Qatar — Germany’s players protested FIFA cracked down on their anti-discrimination messages Make a non-verbal statement of challenge to them World Cup 2022 Wednesday opener.

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While posing for a record-breaking pre-match photo at Khalifa International Stadium, all 11 starters closed their right hands to their mouths, an implicit reference to their statement on Monday that FIFA had threatened them with “sporting sanctions” if captain Manuel Neuer wore the “OneLove” bracelet with a heart. multi-colors.

Shortly after the photo was taken, the team’s official account posted it on Twitter with the caption:

This was not about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. This should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t right. That’s why this message is so important to us.

“Depriving us of the armband is like denying us a voice,” the tweet concluded. “We stand by our position.”

Germany and six other European teams have adopted armbands in light of Qatari laws restricting LGBT rights, among others. Armbands were part of A wider Dutch-led campaign against discrimination. KNBV said in September that the colors at the heart of the armband — which are similar to, but not identical to, those of LGBTQ pride — “represent everyone’s pride in their origin, color, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”

The European federations wrote to FIFA in the same month detailing their plans. However, FIFA did not respond or engage with the European federations until last weekend, on the eve of the tournament. And when it did, it was “very clear that it would impose sporting sanctions if our captains wore armbands on the field of play,” the European nations, which also include England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland, said in their statement. .

They all chose not to wear armbands, but some have spoken out against FIFA’s position – none more so than Germany. After Wednesday’s game, 2-1 upset over JapanGermany’s Kai Havertz said the team felt it was an important statement to “show that, yes, we try to help anyone/however we can. And of course, FIFA makes it not easy for us.”

Fans back home vigorously protested the World Cup in Qatar, which has been marred by controversy over LGBT rights, the rights of migrant workers, and more. Players have often been asked to comment on these controversies, to the point where midfielder Joshua Kimmich admitted on Tuesday that his “childhood dream” of playing in the World Cup finals had been tarnished.

The German Football Association, the German Football Association, also said Tuesday that it will prosecute FIFA over the world soccer’s governing body’s crackdown on “OneLove” badges. German Football Association has been confirmed She has filed a complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and hopes to obtain a ruling allowing Neuer to wear the armband during the World Cup.

after a day , German politician Nancy Weser wore the armband for the match against Japan She was invited to sit next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

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DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 23: Germany's players cover their mouths in protest as they pose for a team photo during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.  (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Germany players cover their mouths in protest as they pose for a photo of the team during Wednesday’s World Cup match against Japan. (Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)

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