Germany players cover mouths for team photo in protest over OneLove armband ban

Credit: AP

Germany's squad covered their mouths in protest at being blocked from wearing an anti-discrimination armband as they posed for a World Cup team photograph.

The German national team made the gesture as they prepared for kick-off in their opening match against Japan at the Khalifa Stadium.

It followed a joint statement from seven European nations, including Germany plus England and Wales, to drop plans to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband after threats of sporting sanctions from FIFA.

After the conclusion of the group-stage fixture, which Japan won 2-1, FIFA said it would not be taking any disciplinary action against Germany.

England's Harry Kane pictured wearing the One Love armband in September. Credit: PA

The German football federation, the DFB, said in a tweet on its official account: “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. 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.”

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt pictured wearing rainbow sleeves on Tuesday ahead of Denmark's clash with Tunisia. Credit: AP

On Monday - just hours before England's first game - the English FA, the Welsh FA and the football associations of four other nations said they would ask their captains not to wear the armband amid a threat of yellow cards.

World Cup host Qatar has been under scrutiny for its human rights record and laws criminalising homesexuality.

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