FIFA has been doing everything in their power to silence its players and teams from taking part in any sort of activism during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And while it’s worked for the most part, the German National Soccer Team was having none of it prior to their tournament opener against Japan.
Germany was expected to use a rainbow-colored “One Love” captains armband as a statement about human rights, diversity and mutual respect. However, they along with several other teams were told by FIFA that the England, Wales, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Belgium”One Love” armbands would not be allowed. And any captain who is seen wearing it will receive a yellow card as soon as their match kicks off.
Not wanting to put their team’s tournament in jeopardy, but still wanting to make a statement, the German National Team opted to leave the armbands in the locker room and instead protested FIFA’s effort to silence them by covering their mouths for the team’s pregame photo.
They also released the following statement on Twitter regarding their actions:
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. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.
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.
England, Wales, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Belgium are the other six teams who were planning on wearing the “One Love” armbands prior to FIFA banning them. The protests mainly revolve around the human rights violations in Qatar that have become a big talking-point leading up to this tournament.
FIFA clearly doesn’t want to upset their hosts, but the German team is more concerned about doing what’s right, even if it means offending the Qatari government. And you’ve certainly got to respect them for that.