Dispute over "One Love" bandage: DFB attacks Fifa: "Censorship" and "demonstration of power"

The escalation surrounding the "One Love" armband of the European World Cup captains around Manuel Neuer reached far beyond the borders of Qatar.

Dispute over "One Love" bandage: DFB attacks Fifa: "Censorship" and "demonstration of power"

The escalation surrounding the "One Love" armband of the European World Cup captains around Manuel Neuer reached far beyond the borders of Qatar. Fifa wanted to sportingly sanction the associations involved in the symbolic campaign - if they would send the "One Love" sign out into the world. This World Cup can hardly be more political.

"In my view, this is a demonstration of power by Fifa," said DFB President Bernd Neuendorf on Monday at the German national team's training ground in northern Qatar. "From our point of view, this is more than frustrating and also an unprecedented event in the history of the World Cup." DFB managing director Oliver Bierhoff said it "feels a lot like censorship".

In addition to the DFB, the other seven European associations also forego the captain's armband due to the massive FIFA pressure. The first professional to be affected was England captain Harry Kane in Monday afternoon's game against Iran. In place of the striker, former international Alex Scott wore the "One Love" armband on the sidelines during a live broadcast on English television and was celebrated on social media. "Fifa's behavior is of course frustrating, this escalation also means that it's no longer about sport," said Bierhoff.

Sporting sanctions such as a yellow card for wearing a non-compliant bandage are not clearly covered by the FIFA statutes. In the end, the risk was too high for the associations. "We don't want the conflict that we undoubtedly have to be carried out on the backs of the players. We stand by our values," said Neuendorf. Bierhoff reported that it was also "a difficult situation for Neuer. We both went to bed convinced that we could wear the bandage during the game." The DFB captain was "of course disappointed".

Fifa justified the ban with World Cup regulations recognized by all participants. In a statement on Monday, the association explicitly emphasized Article 13.8.1 of the Equipment Rules: "For FIFA Final competitions, the captain of each team must wear an armband provided by FIFA." FIFA supports campaigns like 'One Love', but this must be done within the framework of the rules known to all.

According to DPA information, the rule paragraph for (prohibited) political messages is also in focus. "In the event of a breach of this provision, the player and/or team will be sanctioned by the competition organiser, the national football association or FIFA," read the international rules. The extent to which the strictly Muslim World Cup host Qatar was involved in the decision remained open on Monday afternoon.

The 'One Love' campaign was a joint effort announced in September by the seven teams now under sanctions and France, as well as Norway and Sweden, both of which have not qualified for the World Cup.

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