Germany players were determined to make a point about diversity and inclusion. After FIFA threatened with sanctions if they wore a ‘OneLove’ armband during the World Cup, German players came up with a unique solution.
The Germany team covered their mouths in their team photo ahead of their opening World Cup match against Japan in apparent protest against FIFA’s ban.
The German FA (DFB) confirmed that the team came up with the idea.
On Monday, England, Germany, the Netherlands and other European nations backed down from wearing the armband, which was intended to promote diversity and inclusion.
Wir wollten mit unserer Kapitänsbinde ein Zeichen setzen für Werte, die wir in der Nationalmannschaft leben: Vielfalt und gegenseitiger Respekt. Gemeinsam mit anderen Nationen laut sein. Es geht dabei nicht um eine politische Botschaft: Menschenrechte sind nicht verhandelbar. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/v9ngfv0ShW
— DFB-Team (@DFB_Team) November 23, 2022
The DFB tweeted about the gesture, saying: “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to set an example for values that we live in the national team: diversity and mutual respect.
“Be loud together with other nations. This is not about a political message: human rights are non-negotiable.
“That should go without saying. But unfortunately it still isn’t. That is why this message is so important to us.
“Banning us from the bandage is like banning our mouths. Our stance stands.”
The day before the tournament began, FIFA launched their own armband initiative. Captains were asked to wear a different armband on each match day, promoting social messages such as “Football unites the world” and “Share the meal” in a United Nations-backed campaign.
Countries faced sanctions, including those of a sporting nature for wearing the original ‘One Love’ armband. This could have included — according to FIFA’s rulebook — players being given an automatic yellow card.
Before the match, Germany manager Hansi Flick answered a question about alternative protests with a smile, and the words “We’ll see.”