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FIFA World Cup 2022: Germany Players Protest Against FIFA Ban By Covering Their Mouths

Germany players' action could be the result of FIFA's warning to the seven European federations, including Germany, against wearing the colourful "One Love" armband.

Germany players cover their mouths as a sign of protest.
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Germany's players covered their mouths for their team photo before their opening World Cup match in an apparent rebuke of FIFA's clampdown on plans to wear armbands to protest discrimination in host nation Qatar. (More Football News)

The team lined up in the traditional formation before Wednesday's game against Japan and each of the 11 players covered their mouth with their right hand.

It seemed to be a response to FIFA's warning to the seven European federations, including Germany's, that players would be penalized if they wore colorful “One Love” armbands as a symbol of inclusion and diversity. The seven team captains had planned to wear the armbands. 

Qatar has been under scrutiny for its human rights record and laws criminalizing homosexuality. 

Soccer's governing body issued the warning Monday just hours before the first teams were set to play with their captain wearing the armband. FIFA said the players would immediately be shown a yellow card. 

Germany coach Hansi Flick and soccer federation president Bernd Neuendorf were among those to criticize FIFA's decision.

Neuendorf said Tuesday it was “another low blow” from FIFA.

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