Why did Germany players cover their mouths before Japan match in FIFA World Cup?

The German players covered their mouths during the team photo prior to kick off

Germany players pose with their hands covering their mouths as they line up for the team photos prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium.

Germany players pose with their hands covering their mouths as they line up for the team photos prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium. | Photo Credit: Alexander Hassenstein

The German players covered their mouths during the team photo prior to kick off

German players covered their mouths during their team photo prior to their Group E game against Japan, in order to mark their protest on their captain, Manuel Neuer being denied permission to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband for the Qatar World Cup.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino was present for the game, when this happened.

DFB, the Germany football association, soon released a statement regarding the protest: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect.”

“Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard. 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,” added DFB in the statement.

Nancy Faeser, the German minister of the Interior and Community, was seen along with German Football Association President Bernd Neuendorf, wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband in the stands

German Football Association President Bernd Neuendorf (L) and German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser, wearing a One Love armband.

German Football Association President Bernd Neuendorf (L) and German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser, wearing a One Love armband. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Earlier this week, Football Associations of seven nations released a joint statement, advising their players against wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband.

The armband represents support for equality and while it is not solely aimed at the rights of the LGBTQ community, it is significant in Qatar where homosexuality is illegal.

“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented - we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear OneLove armband to actively support inclusion in football and had no response” said the joint statement of seven nations which includes England the Netherlands, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

Neuer, along with the captains of the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, England, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales, were reportedly set to wear the One Love armband during this edition of FIFA World Cup which commenced on November 20.

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