The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 is hit with yet another controversy after the players of team Germany presented their own version of protest in the global arena. It is over the “OneLove” armband controversy; the Germans were seen protesting by covering their mouths with their hands during a team photograph before their match against Japan.
Earlier Iranian players had shown their own mode of protesting against the fiasco of the Government of Iran back in their home by refusing to sing the national anthem ahead of their opening match in the World Cup against England.
Every player from the German front had taken part in the showcase of their resistance in front of tons of global and domestic photographers on the World Cup pitch itself prior to kicking off their FIFA campaign in the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday.
The World soccer body, FIFA, had threatened a total of seven European teams against wearing the “OneLove” armbands, which symbolizes diversity and tolerance, that if the threat wasn’t taken seriously, sanctions could be imposed on the said teams.
In 2022, tolerance towards people of different sexualities and genders should be a given, but apparently not in Qatar, where homosexuality is banned and regarded as a criminal offence.
To make the German’s position on the issue more rigid, a series of tweets were posted by Germany’s football federation moments after the team photo was released, saying, “This is not a political position, human rights are not negotiable…To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak.”
What solidified their stance further was that the German Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, wore a “OneLove” armband. At the same time, she sat next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the stadium.
Advocacy and activism aside, we should remember the motive of our gathering in the totalitarian regime of Qatar, that is, the FIFA World Cup 2022. While the two teams of Iran and Germany are pretty energetic in showing their resilience and protesting against oppression and are similar in that way, they also should be enthusiastic enough to give a memorable performance to back their agenda.
But instead, the two teams have become similar in another way: losing their inaugural matches very poorly. While Iran lost 2-6 to England earlier, the four-times world champion Germany also began their FIFA campaign with a 1-2 defeat to Japan. Both teams seem to have forgotten playing football in the wake of activism and will now struggle to be in the top 16.