The German national team has decided to protest FIFA’s decision to ban the OneLove armband after world football’s governing body instructed referees to punish team captains with a yellow card if they were not wearing the officially approved captain’s armband. The decision was made after a long week full of discussions on this topic. England, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Wales and Switzerland released a joint statement on Monday confirming they will not be wearing the OneLove headband at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar due to potential “sports sanctions”.
We wanted to use our captain’s armband to uphold the values we share in the German national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other peoples, we wanted our voice to be heard.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 23, 2022
FIFA has made it clear that all players who wear the proposed OneLove armband, which promotes diversity and inclusiveness, will be issued a yellow card. At the same time, FIFA launched its own “No Discrimination” campaign, which was only to take effect after the quarter-finals, and all captains will now be allowed to wear one of these armbands throughout the tournament. Manuel Neuer, the German captain, wore the No Discrimination armband against Japan in the first match of the team coached by Hansi Flick. At the same time, the entire team covered their mouths with their hands during the traditional team photo before the match against Japan to send a message to the world.
The German Football Federation issued a statement following the photo, explaining the protest gesture against the ongoing World Cup in Qatar: “It was not a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. This should be taken for granted, but this is still not the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Depriving us of the armband is tantamount to denying us the right to vote. We stand on our position. We wanted to use our captain’s armband to uphold the values we uphold in the German national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.”
As the German players staged protests on the pitch, Federal Minister for the Interior and Communities Nancy Faezar joined FIFA chief Gianni Infantino in the stands with an armband, which he forbade players to wear.