The German Football Federation (DFB) is looking to take legal action against FIFA after the latter’s threat of on field bookings to seven European teams including Germany over wearing the OneLove armband. In an interview with German publication Bild, DFB’s spokesperson Stefan Simon confirmed that the body had lodged a case over legal validity of the decision at the international sport court, CAS.
“Fifa has forbidden us from using a symbol of diversity and human rights. It said the ban would be linked to massive penalties (in the nature of) sporting sanctions without concretising exactly what it meant. The DFB is keen to clarify whether Fifa’s procedure is in fact legitimate,” he said.
Following the threat, the seven FAs that had decided on their captains donning the armbands promoting diversity and inclusion were forced to opt out, caving under the fear of sporting sanctions to be imposed by FIFA. The German FA however, faced repercussions after they backed down from the same after supermarket chain REWE became the first sponsor to drop their advertising campaign with them.
“We stand up for diversity – and football is also diversity. We live this position and we defend it,” said Rewe Group Chief Executive Lionel Souque. “FIFA’s scandalous attitude is absolutely unacceptable.”
Other brands followed with Adidas stating,”We are convinced that sport must be open to everyone. It is imperative to continue the discussion.” Volkswagen called FIFA’s behaviour as “unacceptable”.
German team responds
After the developments on Wednesday, Germany manager Hansi Flick and Joshua Kimmich were questioned on their opinion on FIFA’s decision to ban the ‘OneLove’ armbands as well as DFB looking to sue them for it.
“The team is shocked something like that was not feasible,” said Flick on FIFA’s threat. “I think it’s a shame that you can no longer stand up for human rights.”
He further added, “If it was only a yellow card, that would have been okay. But FIFA didn’t specify the sanctions. It’s a shame that our fight for human rights was not allowed to stand up. I think it’s a shame that you can no longer stand up for human rights.”
Joshua Kimmich on the other hand suggested that while it was a surprising call from FIFA, it was time that the focus shifted back to football.
“I was surprised with the ban. We players are very reflective and point the issues out, but we should talk about football again at some point. It’s not my fault that the World Cup was awarded here 12 years ago. I was 15 back then,” he said.