Doha, Nov 23 (EFE).- The German national team covered their mouths for the pre-match photo on Wednesday as the fallout from Fifa’s decision to prohibit the captains of several European national teams competing at the World Cup in Qatar from wearing armbands with the anti-discrimination message “One Love” continued.
Germany were taking on Japan in their opening Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the German football association (DFB) said wearing the armband “wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case.
“That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position,” the statement said.
Seven western European national teams – Germany, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Wales and Switzerland – had planned to wear the armband to “actively support inclusion in football”, but backed down after they said Fifa threatened to “impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the football associations said in a joint statement on this week.
While England, Denmark and the Netherlands have already appeared at the tournament, Germany are the first team that was part of the One Love initiative to stage a protest to show their support for human rights, equality and inclusivity in the sport at the World Cup in Qatar.
The German FA is reportedly planning to take the case to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
Steffen Simon, a DFB Spokesman said: “Fifa has banned us from showing a symbol of diversity and human rights. They combined this ban with massive threats of sporting sanctions without specifying them. The DFB is checking whether this action by Fifa was legal.”
Fifa has been heavily criticized in Western nations for awarding the World Cup to Qatar, where homosexuality is a crime.
The host nation has also been accused of human rights violations by international organizations and of mistreating migrant workers, thousands of whom are thought to have died on construction projects in the buildup to the tournament.
Qatar denies the allegations. EFE