Qatar World Cup: German Team Covers Mouths To Protest FIFA's Rainbow Armband Ban

The German team's gesture comes amid concerns of safety for LGBTQ+ fans and allies at the World Cup in Qatar.

2 min read

The German football team covered their mouths for their team photo captured before their World Cup opener against Japan on Wednesday, 23 November, in protest of the FIFA's refusal to allow rainbow-themed armbands.

Why this is important: The German team's gesture comes amid concerns of safety for LGBTQ+ fans and allies at the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is strictly illegal.

The backdrop: Seven European football teams, including England, announced on Monday that they would not wear a rainbow armband at the World Cup as initially planned, stating that "FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions" if the armbands are worn.


What did they say?: Minutes after the German team presented their protest at the World Cup, the DFB tweeted, "Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice... We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect."

But that's not all: German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser sat next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino wearing the OneLove armband, which are a protest against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination laws Qatar, the host nation. Earlier, FIFA had said that any player who sported the armband would receive a yellow card.

What else you should know: The FIFA World Cup in Qatar has witnessed several controversies since it began on 20 November. On Monday, an American journalist was allegedly briefly detained when he tried to enter the stadium wearing a t-shirt with a rainbow.

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