Despite FIFA’s decree forbidding players from wearing the One Love armband on the pitch, the rainbow still found its way into the Qatar World Cup over the past few days.
While on-field participants were restricted from wearing the LGBTQ-inclusive armbands, FIFA’s announcement still left a few loopholes for others to walk through without fear of a yellow card.
As FIFA President Gianni Infantino discovered, there was no rule prohibiting German Interior Minister Nancy Faesar from donning the One Love armband and taking a seat right next to him for her country’s match with Japan.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser sat next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino... while wearing the OneLove armband ️ pic.twitter.com/sHolyROQDD— Eurosport (@eurosport) November 23, 2022
Look at the pure joy on Infantino’s face. Joy. Total joy.
For at least one day, he wore the expression of every LGBTQ soccer fan after seeing FIFA award the World Cup to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Addressing the media after the match, Faesar lit into FIFA.
“In this day and age, it is completely incomprehensible that FIFA does not want people to openly stand up for tolerance and against discrimination,” she said. “That no longer fits with our times.”
That wasn’t Infantino’s last encounter with the rainbow. Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Smith also wore a One Love armband while attending a World Cup function.
Then while watching Denmark’s match against Tunisia, Thorning-Smith took her sartorial protest up a notch with a dress featuring a prominent Pride rainbow sleeve.
Denmark’s former Prime Minister decided she had enough of Fifa trying to ban the rainbow from the Qatar World Cup and wore a dress with the design to meet the president.https://t.co/6wNWnCGhMO— Metro (@MetroUK) November 22, 2022
She also wore her Pride dress when she met with Infantino, who seemed to be keeping a “chaperoned junior high school slow dance” amount of space between the two of them, presumably to avoid getting any inclusion on his suit.
Meanwhile, even though the players couldn’t join their leaders on the pitch in wearing the One Love armbands, the spirit of protest was still alive and well.
When Germany emerged from the tunnel for warm ups, they sported rainbow tops and six starters wore boots with rainbow stitching.
Then all of Germany’s players joined together and cupped their hands over their mouths in a symbolic demonstration of how FIFA had silenced them from speaking out. Team Germany later released a statement on social media explaining the meaning behind their gesture…
It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 23, 2022
Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position. pic.twitter.com/tiQKuE4XV7
During the match, German captain Manuel Neuer wore a “No Discrimination” armband that had been approved.
Germany captain Manuel Neuer wore the FIFA-approved 'No Discrimination' armband and as a result did not receive a yellow card.— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) November 23, 2022
[Dave Shopland/Shutterstock] pic.twitter.com/gujGwVQ7pT
Although the Germans were upset by a 2-1 Japan victory, the team stood tall against a much more powerful opponent in FIFA. We’ll remember that long after the results of the day’s matches have been forgotten.