German players covered their mouths while taking a team photo in protest of FIFA – POLITICO

Germany’s players covered their mouths during a team photo before their World Cup opener against Japan on Wednesday in protest of FIFA’s pro-LGBTQ+ ban on headscarves.

Germany was one of seven countries banned by FIFA from wearing One Love armbands as a symbol of inclusion and diversity. The captains of all seven nations had planned to wear them. Countries have been warned they face sanctions if they defy football’s governing body.

Shortly after the team’s protest on the field, the German Football Federation issued a statement saying: “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to set an example of the values ​​we live in the national team: Diversity and mutual respect. To be loud together with other nations.”

The statement said that “human rights are non-negotiable” and “denying us a bandage is like denying us our voice. We stand our ground.”

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said on Tuesday that he will wear the ‘One Love’ armband if he plays at the World Cup, despite the threat of FIFA sanctions. The German Football Association has also said it plans to take legal action against FIFA over his actions.

Although Captain Manuel Neuer did not wear the pro LGBTQ+ armband as planned, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore one while watching the game.

Six of Germany’s starting line-up, including Neuer, had rainbow colors on their boots.

Qatar has faced criticism since being awarded the tournament in 2010 over its treatment of migrant workers, as well as its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and women’s rights.