Germans threaten legal action against FIFA over ‘OneLove’ armband ban

November 23 – Germany’s football association (DFB) is examining whether FIFA’s threat to impose sanctions against players who wanted to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband at the World Cup is legal.

The armbands had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Captains of several European teams had planned to wear the rainbow-themed armband as part of a campaign for diversity during the tournament but backed down after FIFA’ s threat  of disciplinary action.

“FIFA banned us from showing a sign for diversity and human rights. They combined this with massive threats of sports sanctions without specifying what these would be,” DFB spokesman Steffen Simon told SID. “The DFB is checking if this action by FIFA is legal.”

“We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We are not impostors who claim they have values and then betray them,” he said.

“We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so.”

DFB’s president, Bernd Neuendorf, added: “In my opinion this is something of a display of power by Fifa. We see this as more than frustrating as well as being an unprecedented event in the history of the World Cup.”

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who was due to attend her country’s opening match against Japan today, said it was a “enormous mistake” for FIFA to ban the “OneLove armband”.

At the same time, she also took aim at national federations for not holding fast to their plan to wear the armband.

“It is more than regrettable that the European federations failed to oppose together. It would have been an important signal. It’s about the attitude right now — from all, especially from the federations,” she told Bild daily.

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