Before the German opening game at the World Cup in Qatar kicks off, the tension is growing: What statement has the DFB team come up with? After all, a photo goes around the world. All players cover their mouths with their hands.
The German national football players demonstratively covered their mouths for the team photo immediately before the start of the World Cup game against Japan. The DFB selection sent a very obvious signal to the world football association FIFA, which had banned the "One Love" captain's armband from Manuel Neuer and six other European team captains in Qatar. Instead, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al-Rajjan, Neuer wore the "No Discrimination" armband prescribed by FIFA, which is intended to stand against discrimination of any kind.
"With our captain's armband, we wanted to set an example for the values that we live in the national team: diversity and mutual respect. Be loud together with other nations. It's not about a political message: human rights are non-negotiable," tweeted German football - Bund after the start of the game. "That should go without saying, but unfortunately it still isn't. That's why this message is so important to us. Forbidding us to wear bandages is like banning our mouths. Our position stands."
FIFA had threatened sporting sanctions if the multicolored "One Love" captain's armband was worn at the World Cup games in Qatar. The DFB, like all nations participating in the campaign, is therefore not taking part in the planned action.
"FIFA works with intimidation and pressure, you have to state that first," said DFB President Bernd Neuendorf on ARD. "I stand by everything I've said about human rights. We're in opposition to FIFA, so it's very important that this is made clear here. We have to consider what conclusions we can draw from that."
In the debate a few hours before the start of the German World Cup, DFB director Oliver Bierhoff had asked for more understanding from home for the players. "Ultimately, the players get criticism again and again. Of course, that hurts in one place or another because you think: When is it enough and when can I concentrate on the World Cup," Bierhoff said on Wednesday on ARD.
The many critical reactions from Germany would keep the players very busy, the 54-year-old reported. After all, the issue was "already taken very seriously a year ago," stressed Bierhoff. Before the World Cup in Qatar, there were talks with human rights organizations and those affected, a symposium was also held and one million euros was donated to help Nepal. The fact that FIFA stopped the action for a good cause was "a heavy blow".