Germany players cover their mouths during a team photo ahead of their World Cup Group E game against Japan on Wednesday, as controversy continues over the threat of FIFA sanctions on “OneLove” armbands.
Germany’s players all took part in a gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch before kickoff after world football body FIFA threatened seven European teams with sanctions for wearing armbands symbolizing diversity and tolerance.
Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Feiser, seated next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the stands, sported the armband during a conversation with the soccer administrator.
Earlier, he criticized FIFA, saying that the threat of sanctions was a mistake and not acceptable behaviour.
“It’s not right how the federations are being put under pressure,” Feser said during a visit to a German FA event in Doha ahead of the game.
“It is inconceivable in today’s times that FIFA does not want people to openly stand up against tolerance and discrimination. It does not fit our times and it is not fair to the people.”
A statement from the German Football Association (DFB) said: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for the values we uphold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together, we wanted our voices to be heard so that yours could be heard.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. It should be recognized, but it’s still not the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband Is.” It’s like not giving us a voice. We stand by our stand.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.