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German Team Cover Mouths To Protest LGBTQ+ Armband Ban

Germany’s players covered their mouths for the team photo before their opening World Cup game against Japan on Wednesday in protest at Fifa’s refusal to allow rainbow-themed armbands.

Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear the anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament as part of a campaign for LBGTQ+ rights. Following Fifa's threats of disciplinary action, including yellow cards, the teams have backed down.

The rainbow armbands had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. Germany’s football federation said in a tweet moments after the photo protest that “human rights are not negotiable.” “This is not a political position; human rights are not negotiable,” the DFB tweeted. “To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak,” the federation added.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino was at the Khalifa International Stadium for the match. 

A German government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said earlier in the day in Berlin that Fifa’s decision to ban captains from wearing the “OneLove” armbands was “very unfortunate.” “The rights of LGBTQ people are non-negotiable,” Hebestreit said at a press conference.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who was to attend the game in Doha against Japan, said FIFA’s ban was a “huge mistake.” Not only players, but fans should also be allowed to show pro-LGBTQ+ symbols “openly,” she told reporters in Qatar. Supporters should, however, “make a decision for themselves” about whether they wanted to wear the symbols, Faeser said.

Security staff at the World Cup have ordered spectators to remove items of clothing featuring rainbow logos.

Read related myGwork articles here:

FIFA Tells Belgium To Remove Word “Love” On World Cup Kits

BBC Reporter Wears OneLove Armband After European Teams Refuse

England Expect To Be Fined For Harry Kane Wearing “One Love” Armband At World Cup

MP Luke Pollard: World Cup “Not Safe” For LGBTQ+ People

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