German team won’t be punished for protest against LGBTQ+ armband ‘ban’

German football team members pose with their hands covering their mouths as they line up for the team photo ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar match between Germany and Japan

The German World Cup team will not face disciplinary action from FIFA for taking a stand for LGBTQ rights.

Ahead of their match against Japan on Wednesday (23 November), the German team posed for a photo donning rainbow stripes and holding their hands over their mouths.

It came teams were told they would be yellow-carded if they wore pro-LGBTQ+ “OneLove” armbands on the pitch, an act of solidarity in the context of Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Germany team coach Hansi Flick said team photo was meant to indicate that FIFA was “silencing” the team.

The protest could be punished by FIFA under Article 11 of its disciplinary code: “Using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature”.

While FIFA has not commented on the German team’s gesture, it has been indicated that there won’t be disciplinary action taken against the team.

It remains to be seen whether other teams will follow suit in protesting the armband penalty.

Football associations across Europe instructed players to refrain as a result of FIFA’s threat.

There was intense criticism from LGBTQ+ fans, who were disappointed at the gesture being abandoned at the first sign of resistance.

The German Football Association (DFB) has stated intentions to take legal action against FIFA.

Earlier this week, the DFB said that FIFA “blackmailed” teams into abandoning the campaign.

“The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple rule violations and threatened with massive sporting sanctions without specifying what these would be,” Steffen Simon, media representative from the DFB, said.

“We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so.”

Sharing the protest photo on Twitter, the DFB wrote: “Armband or no armband, we stand by our position.”