Suddenly they all stood there and covered their mouths with their hands. At the obligatory team photo before the World Cup match in Qatar, the German team could be seen making this unusual gesture, and it was actually immediately clear to everyone that this was a protest. A supposedly strong sign that demonstrates unity and strength. But at least there are now doubts about the unity, according to an ARD contribution.
The history of the action has to do with the legal situation of the LGBTIQ community, which is anything but liberal in Qatar, which is considered conservative. In an interview before the World Cup, for example, the Qatari World Cup ambassador and former national soccer player Khalid Salman described homosexuality as "mental damage". Above all, he has problems when children see gays. Because they would then learn something that is not good. In his eyes, being gay is "haram", i.e. forbidden.
In order to counter this view, the DFB team – together with other football associations – considered wearing the so-called One Love armband. Curiously, the multicolored bandage with a heart symbol was sharply criticized from several sides after its presentation, because it does not at least depict the symbolically powerful rainbow, but at most suggests it.
However, two days before the game against Japan, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura announced that the federations would face serious sporting sanctions if the captain's armband were worn. The football associations of England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Wales and Germany quickly caved in and instructed their captains not to wear the One Love armband.
Quick advice was needed here. What do you do to still show a gesture that at least shows that you don't agree with the circumstances in the World Cup host country. According to a report by the sports show, "hectic activity set in to discuss alternative scenarios. The association's leadership and some players are said to have campaigned to send a signal before the game against Japan. Other players, on the other hand, felt 'instrumentalized. '" Nonetheless, the hand-over-the-mouth gesture was chosen, which is said to have been "accepted as the lowest common denominator within the German team". The feeling of instrumentalization can be understood in both directions. On the one hand, as a player, you have to deal with circumstances that are outside of sport. On the other hand, of course, that sports associations get involved in symbolic forms of protest that could have been left to the team itself.
Exactly which players spoke out for or against the shut-the-mouth gesture and their respective motives were not known in a verifiable manner. According to information from ARD, it was finally decided - after the lost game against Japan - to concentrate only on football from now on.
Sources: ARD, "Image"