FIFA World Cup: Why Germany players covered mouths before Japan game

The team lined up in the traditional formation before the game and each of the 11 players covered their mouth with their right hand.

Germany players cover mouths FIFA World Cup 2022
Germany players cover their mouths before the start of their game against Japan at FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha on Wednesday (November 23). Photo: Twitter/German team

Germany’s players covered their mouths for their team photo before the start of their FIFA World Cup 2022 Group E match against Japan at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Wednesday (November 23).

The gesture was against football’s world governing body FIFA which clampdown on teams’ plans to wear armbands to protest discrimination in host country Qatar.

Also read: FIFA World Cup 2022: All you need to know about the tournament in Qatar

The team lined up in the traditional formation before the game and each of the 11 players covered their mouth with their right hand.

Advertisement



It seemed to be a response to FIFA’s warning to the seven European federations, including Germany’s, that players would be penalised if they wore colourful “One Love” armbands as a symbol for inclusion and diversity. The seven team captains had planned to wear the armbands.

Also read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Schedule, groups, match times in IST, venues, live TV, streaming, and more

Qatar has been under scrutiny for its human rights record and laws criminalising homesexuality.

On the pitch, Germany was stunned by Japan 2-1.

In a statement, the German team said, “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.”

FIFA issued the warning Monday just hours before the first teams were set to play with their captain wearing the armband. FIFA said the players would immediately be shown a yellow card.

Germany coach Hansi Flick and football federation president Bernd Neuendorf were among those to criticise FIFA’s decision. Neuendorf said Tuesday it was “another low blow” from FIFA.

Earlier, on Monday (November 20), Iran players refused to sing their national anthem before the start of their match against England. The players were supporting the anti-government protests back home.

CATCH US ON: