The German football team protested FIFA at the Qatar World Cup this afternoon (November 23), covering their mouths while posing for a pre-match photo.
Earlier this week Germany were among seven European nations – also including England and Wales – to announce that they would no longer be wearing pro-LGBTQ+ ‘OneLove’ armbands during games after the threat of sporting sanctions from governing body FIFA.
Before their game against Japan on Wednesday afternoon, which they went on to lose 2-1 in a surprise upset, the German team wore boots and training tops emblazoned with rainbow stripes during their warm-up and posed for a photo ahead of the game with each player’s hand covering their mouth in protest of the ruling.
Confirming the protest and its reasoning, the team’s official English Twitter account wrote: “It 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.”
It 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. pic.twitter.com/tiQKuE4XV7
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 23, 2022
England manager Gareth Southgate previously promised that his players would speak out about human rights abuses during the tournament. “Regarding the LGBT community, we stand for inclusivity and we are very, very strong on that,” he said. “We think that is important in terms of all our supporters.”
This Monday (November 21) the England national team clinched a 6-2 victory over Iran at their first game of the World Cup 2022. They’re due to play the USA this Friday (November 25).
Meanwhile, Robbie Williams has defended his decision to perform as part of this year’s World Cup next month. The pop star said it’d be “hypocritical” for him not to go to Qatar “because of the places that I do go to”.
Numerous artists have distanced themselves from the World Cup though, including Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart, while Melanie C has said she “wouldn’t be comfortable” performing at the 2022 World Cup as an LGBTQ+ ally.