The German Football Association (DFB) are considering taking legal action against FIFA after the sport’s governing body banned teams from wearing a OneLove captain’s armband.
England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark all intended to wear a OneLove captain’s armband during the World Cup in Qatar in protest against the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
FIFA, however, stepped in and allegedly ‘ threatened’ those nations, resulting in all of them very quickly abandoning their stance.
This stood in stark contrast to the Iranian team who refused to sing their national anthem in solidarity with protests at home.
Theirs was a protest that is likely to come with very real world consequences for the players and their families.
Speaking to Bild in Germany, DFB’s media director, Steffen Simon, said, “The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple rule violations and threatened with massive sporting sanctions without specifying what these would be.
“We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We are not impostors who claim they have values and then betray them.
“We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so.”
It should be noted that people who actually intend to blackmail are usually quite specific about what the outcome will be.
These vague threats smack of FIFA taking a chance and hoping that the nations would be too afraid to stand up to them.
Given that the seven nations folded at the first bit of pushback, FIFA were right to make that assumption.
Those countries have a lot of work to do to convince me they really had no choice other than to throw the LGBTQ+ community under the bus.