It seems that the OneLove armband will not be making an appearance at the World Cup — at least not in the matches.
The teams who had planned to wear the armbands to protest against discrimination in the host country of Qatar report that they faced “extreme blackmail,” according to the German Football Association (DFB) on Tuesday.
The captains of seven European teams — England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany — had planned to wear the OneLove armband to promote diversity and inclusion at the World Cup in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal.
The teams confirmed that FIFA had threatened them with unspecified sports sanctions if they push through with the gesture, causing all of them to decide to drop the armbands.
Stefan Simon, the DFB’s media director said that it has reached out to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the legal validity of the ban. This follows after the DFB lost its deal with supermarket chain REWE, as the company distances itself from FIFA.
On Wednesday, before their match with Japan, Germany covered their mouths in the team photo.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement,” said the (DFB) on Twitter.
Moreover, Germany’s Sports Minister Nancy Faeser, who earlier said that the ban was a “massive mistake,” attended the match wearing the armband.
Jakob Jensen, chief executive of the Danish football federation, later said that the seven European nations are “coordinating” discussions on the legal steps that they can take.
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