German Soccer Team Forced To Remove LGBTQ Arm Bands By FIFA

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The German Football Association (DFB) is calling foul on being forced to remove pro-LGBTQ armbands ahead of their World Cup match with Iran on Monday.

“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,” DFB’s media director Steffen Simon stated according to Reuters.

England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had all planned on wearing the “OneLove” armbands at the World Cup as a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community while playing in a nation where homosexuality is illegal, Reuters reported. (RELATED: US National Soccer Team Changes Crest To LGBT Colors For World Cup In Qatar)

After being threatened with yellow cards by FIFA, Simon said the teams had no choice but to comply. “We were in an extreme situation,” he stated, “in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so.”

German players found a way to express their displeasure with FIFA ahead of Wednesday’s game, though. Standing in formation prior to their game against Japan, the German team covered their mouths with their right hands, signaling to the world that they were being silenced, according to the Washington Post.

“It’s not a political message: human rights are nonnegotiable. That should be obvious. Unfortunately it still isn’t. That’s why this message is so important to us,” the DFB said per the Washington Post. “ Our stance stands.”