World Cup 2022: Germany players cover their mouths in silent protest as LGBT armband row grows

Germany’s soccer team players cover their mouth during the World Cup group E soccer match between Germany and Japan, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan) Ricardo Mazalan/AP

World Cup 2022: Germany players cover their mouths in silent protest as LGBT armband row grows

Jack Birle

November 23, 11:32 AM November 23, 11:32 AM

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The German men’s soccer team made a statement before their first World Cup match Wednesday by covering their mouths in the team photo.

The gesture by the team appears to be a protest against FIFA, who threatened to penalize teams who wore a rainbow armband at the tournament in Qatar.


Several European countries, including Germany, had planned on having team captains wear rainbow armbands in solidarity with the LGBT community but backed down when they were threatened with yellow cards by FIFA, which runs international soccer.

Host country Qatar has come under intense scrutiny from several Western countries for some of its practices and laws, specifically the ones which outlaw homosexuality.

Acts of defiance in the name of LGBT rights have been a theme from Western figures at the tournament. American journalist Grant Wahl says he was initially refused entry into the U.S.-Wales match because of his rainbow shirt. He was later let into the venue with the shirt on.

Germany would go on to lose their match to Japan 2-1, in the second stunning upset of the tournament. The first major upset was when Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday.

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