The World Cup has not been without a constant stream of drama during its first few days as Germany added to the teams making a political statements on and off the pitch. Before their match against Japan, Germany's players covered their mouths when they were taking their team photo as a message going against FIFA's ban of the controversial “One Love” armband the association has condemned.
European teams were warned by FIFA to stop wearing the armband, which is a response to Qatar's refusal to recognize basic human rights. The association warned those teams, including Germany, that if they continued to wear the armbands that players would immediately be given yellow cards.
Germany coach Hansi Flick was among those who were critical of FIFA's decision about players being penalized for wearing the armbands while soccer federation president Bernd Neuendorf called it a “low blow.”
Germany interior minister Nancy Faeser wore the armband in the stands and spoke out against FIFA's ruling on the matter.
“This is not all right, how federations are being put under pressure,” Faeser said during a visit to a German FA event in Doha, Qatar, before the game.
“In today's times it is incomprehensible that FIFA does not want people to openly stand for tolerance and against discrimination. It does not fit in our times, and it is not appropriate towards people.”
The German national team's Twitter account also posted a message with the photo the team took.
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
“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.”