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(World Cup) German players stage apparent protest vs. FIFA ban over armband

All News 23:17 November 23, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- Football and politics collided on the pitch at the World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday, with German players apparently protesting FIFA's ban on an armband signifying diversity, tolerance and inclusion.

The starting players for Germany pose for their team photo ahead of their Group E match against Japan at the FIFA World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

The starting players for Germany pose for their team photo ahead of their Group E match against Japan at the FIFA World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

During their team photo session before taking on Japan at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha, the 11 German starting players covered their mouths with their right hands.

It appeared to be a response to FIFA's threat of penalty against Germany and six other European teams if they wore "One Love" armbands in protest to discrimination in the host country Qatar. Captains for the seven European teams -- Germany, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Wales -- had planned to wear the armbands.

Qatar has faced heavy scrutiny in the leadup to the big tournament for its human rights record and criminalization of homosexuality.

FIFA warned on Monday that players wearing such armbands would receive a yellow card.

In this Reuters photo, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (R) wears an "One Love" armband next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino during a Group E match of the FIFA World Cup between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

In this Reuters photo, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (R) wears an "One Love" armband next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino during a Group E match of the FIFA World Cup between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

The German team and their national football federation have been particularly vocal in their criticism of FIFA's decision. Their captain, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, wore the official FIFA armband, which says "No Discrimination," on his undershirt. Parts of the armband were covered by the sleeve of his uniform in the early moments, and the armband was turned so that the text "No Discrimination" were not visible from the outside.

In the stands, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser was shown wearing a "One Love" armband while seated next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

In his pretournament press conference Saturday, Infantino blasted European critics of Qatar's policies for being "hypocritical" and defended the host country for making progress in human rights.

Germany goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer plays wearing FIFA's "No Discrimination" armband during his team's Group E match against Japan at the FIFA World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

Germany goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer plays wearing FIFA's "No Discrimination" armband during his team's Group E match against Japan at the FIFA World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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