Countries wanting to wear ‘One Love’ armband subject to ‘extreme blackmail’, says German Football Association

DOHA, Reuters the German Football Federation (DFB) on Tuesday.

The federations of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark announced on Monday that Fifa, the International Football Federation, had threatened to punish with a yellow card any player wearing this armband.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

DFB communications director Steffen Simon, interviewed by Deutschlandfunk radio, said England, who could have been the first team to display the emblem in their game against Iran on Monday, were threatened with multiple sports sanctions.

“The tournament director went to see the English team, spoke of multiple rule violations and threatened massive sporting penalties, without specifying which ones,” he said.

Steffen Simon, who did not specify whether he was referring to local organizers or Fifa when speaking of “tournament director”, added that the six other nations involved had decided to show their solidarity and not to wear the cuff.

“We were in an extreme situation, in extreme blackmail and we thought that we had to make this decision without wanting to make it,” he continued. “I can understand the disappointment. We had a choice between plague and cholera.”

The England team declined to comment. Neither Fifa nor the Qatari organizing committee responded to requests for comment from Reuters.

The DFB’s decision was criticized in Germany. The supermarket chain REWE broke an agreement with the latter.

Germany coach Hansi Flick said the team wanted to make a statement in defense of human rights and diversity but Fifa’s decision shortly before the England match did not allow the seven federations to coordinate.

“Receiving yellow cards would have been okay. It wouldn’t have been a problem but… the threat of penalties meant there was no time to react. That’s the way it is but it’s a shame,” he said.

(Report Martyn Herman in Doha, French version Jean-Stéphane Brosse, edited by Sophie Louet)

Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by

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