German players covered their mouths in a Qatari stadium today, before kick off of their World Cup clash with Japan in protest of FIFA’s decision to ban an LGBTQ armband.
This comes after the world football governing body threatened sanctions against teams and their captains if they go ahead with their plan to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband – which is a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
All German players took part in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch ahead of their Group E match kickoff, which ended with the Germans losing 2-1 to their Japanese opponents in another World Cup shock after Argentina lost 2 -1 to Saudi Arabia.
After the protest and as the match kicked off, the German Football Association (DFB) released a statement emphatically supporting its team, saying: ‘To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak.’
Watching from the stands, Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the armband herself. She had hidden it underneath a pink blazer, which she took off as the game began – revealing the band and its logo.
Many fans insist Hansi Flick’s men ‘deserved’ to lose for focusing ‘only on politics’, claiming they got ‘sidetracked’ in the process. Fans accused them of failing to make a statement on the pitch, as they fell to a shock 2-1 defeat by Japan soon after.
One fan wrote: ‘Germany deserved that for being so obsessed with rainbow armbands and politics.’