Germany will not face any disciplinary action from FIFA, the PA news agency said, after taking the OneLove armband protest to a new level.
The move marked another day of tension between the seven European nations that have backed the OneLove campaign and FIFA, with the group – which includes the English and Welsh associations – exploring their own legal options on the matter.
The Football Association declined to comment on whether the England team copied Germany’s gesture ahead of Friday’s match against the United States, while Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney said he was “furious” at FIFA’s behavior in the queue. bracelet .
England and Wales were told just hours before Monday’s opening games that they could face sporting penalties if captains Harry Kane and Gareth Bale wore the rainbow armbands.
Mooney told ITV: ‘Months and months they (FIFA) knew we were going to be wearing the OneLove armband, and putting it on us is pretty cheap and pretty low priced to be frank and we’re really disappointed with that attitude.
“We have been absolutely furious about this, we have given FIFA everything we have in terms of how furious we are about this decision. We think this was a terrible decision.
Asked if he felt the OneLove group had backed down, Mooney said: “We haven’t backed down. We had to look at the sporting sanction that was there.
“We said we’d get fines, we’d accept whatever sanctions came, but when at the last minute it came down to specific sporting sanctions that would potentially prevent our players from taking to the pitch, that’s a different matter. It was done so late.
The OneLove campaign began in September and will run for a year, but was to be particularly significant during the World Cup in Qatar, a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
PA understands that the group’s lawyers are looking into the regulations to look into the penalties the associations have been threatened with. The Danish FA chief executive, Jakob Jensen, confirmed legal options were being explored, but said the group could not go to the sports arbitration tribunal immediately.
Speaking of the ‘mouths covered’ gesture after his side’s 2-1 defeat by Japan, Germany coach Hansi Flick said: “It was a signal, a message we wanted to send. We wanted to convey the message that FIFA is silencing us.”
The German gesture could have provoked disciplinary action by FIFA under Article 11 of its disciplinary code. He specifies that anyone “using a sporting event for non-sporting events” can be sanctioned.
FIFA is yet to comment on what the German team did, but it is understood there will be no formal disciplinary action from the governing body.
A tweet from the German federation reads: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to defend the values we have in the German national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.
“It was not about making a political statement: human rights are not negotiable. This should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the band is equivalent to denying us a voice. We stand our ground.”
However, there is the risk that the German gesture is isolated.
Switzerland are also part of the OneLove group, but their captain Granit Xhaka has indicated his side will not stage a similar protest before Thursday’s opening match against Cameroon.
Belgium, another member of the squad, kicked off their World Cup against Canada on Wednesday night but made no gestures before kick-off. Defender Jan Vertonghen had said on Tuesday that he felt players were afraid to speak in Qatar and that they were being watched.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was asked about the armbands controversy on Wednesday and said: “As a team we have all had conversations and we all support that. We all wanted Harry to wear it, but I think the decision got out of hand as a team and as players. He’s gone higher than that really.
Germany’s gesture on the pitch was reinforced in the stands of Khalifa Stadium by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wearing a OneLove armband in the VIP box.
Seated to his right was FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who on the eve of the tournament launched a stunning attack on the “hypocrisy” of European nations for their human rights criticisms of Qatar.
Discontent with FIFA is growing in the group, with the German federation saying shortly before the tournament it will not support Infantino’s re-election, which is expected to go unopposed in next year’s vote, while the Danish federation has taken the same stance.
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