Germany players cover mouths in team photo amid armband row at World Cup

 Germany players cover their mouths as they pose for a team group photo before the match in the Qatar Fifa World Cup on November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

DOHA— Germany players placed their hands over their mouths during a team photo ahead of their game against Japan for their World Cup Group E on Wednesday as the row over FIFA’s threat of sanctions over the “OneLove” armband continued.

All Germany players took part in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch ahead of kickoff, after world football body FIFA had threatened seven European teams with sanctions if they wore the armband symbolizing diversity and tolerance.

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Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, sitting next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the stands, sported the armband as she chatted with the football administrator.

Earlier, she had criticized FIFA, saying the threat of sanctions was a mistake and not acceptable behavior.

“This is not alright, how federations are being put under pressure,” Faeser said during a visit to a German FA event in Doha before the game.

“In today’s times it is incomprehensible that FIFA does not want people to openly stand for tolerance and against discrimination. It does not fit in our times and it is not appropriate towards people.”