The gesture of a gag mimicked by German players in the official photo before the match against Japan, the assertion that human rights are “not negotiable”: German football responded on Wednesday to threats of sanctions brandished by Fifa to prevent the wearing of the inclusive armband during the Mondial-2022.
Under the eyes of the President of Fifa, Gianni Infantino in the Khalifa stadium, the German players, including captain Manuel Neuer, ostensibly put their hands in front of their mouths in the traditional team photo which precedes the kick-off. The seven European federations, including Germany, which had planned to make their captains wear a colored “One Love” armband against discrimination, gave up on Monday in the face of the threat of “sporting sanctions” by Fifa, which did not not specified.
This threat has been widely criticized in Germany where many voices have been raised calling on Mannschaft players to defy it. The Germans had prepared their case well. In the stands, the Minister of the Interior in charge of sports Nancy Faeser, donned the famous “One Love” inclusive armband in the stands, which the organizers did not want, before tweeting the photo on social networks. She then put on a jacket. And almost at the same time, the federation sent a scathing press release on social networks: “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to show the values that we live within the national team: Diversity and mutual respect. Making noise together with other nations.”
“This is not a political message: human rights are non-negotiable. It should be obvious. Unfortunately, it still isn’t. That’s why this message is so important to us . Forbidding us to wear the blindfold is forbidding us to speak. Our position is clear”, according to the text.
Since obtaining the organization of the tournament in 2010, Qatar has been the target of numerous criticisms on human rights, in particular those of LGBT + people. In this small conservative Muslim country, sexual relations outside marriage and homosexuality are subject to criminal prosecution. Qatari authorities said “everyone is welcome”.
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
Gianni Infantino tried to defend Qatar during a press conference on Saturday, the day before the start of the competition. “Today I feel gay,” he said. But the body of world football had also rejected the wearing by the seven captains who wanted it of colored armbands bearing the words “One Love” to offer instead a series of much more consensual messages, such as “Save the planet”, ” Education for all” or “No to discrimination”.
“Fifa is a universal organization. We have to find subjects to which everyone adheres”, argued Gianni Infantino on Saturday, believing that “provocation is not the right path” and that the rights of homosexuals are “a process” that each country follows at its own pace.