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Why did German players cover their mouths before Japan game?

On Day 4 of the World Cup, we saw more evidence of professional players making a statement of their feelings.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group E - Germany v Japan - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 23, 2022 Germany players cover their mouths as they pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Germany got their 2022 World Cup campaign off and running against Japan on Wednesday and the headlines were being written even before we heard the referee’s whistle for kick-off. It was an image that will be shared throughout the day and will be much debated.

Germany makes silent stance

As the team photo was being taken, the players lined up and then all put their hands covering their mouths. This was a clear denouncement of FIFA’s veto against the rainbow armband in support of human rights and the LGTBIQ+ community. The gesture was explained on the official social media accounts.

‘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,’ read the mesage. ‘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.’


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