Germany’s football federation has said that it intends to take legal action against FIFA over its ban on OneLove rainbow armbands during the World Cup.
Captains of seven nations had planned to wear the armband as a show of support to the LGBTQ+ community, but cancelled the symbolic move after football’s global governing body threatened sporting sanctions including booking players.
The late decision has been heavily criticized, and raises further questions over Qatar’s ability to provide a welcoming environment for all fans.
Germany’s DFB faced immediate backlash after announcing the decision, notably from the supermarket chain REWE, which became the first sponsor to take direct action by withdrawing its advertising campaign in protest.
“We stand for diversity and football too is about diversity. The scandalous position of FIFA is for me as CEO of a diverse enterprise, and as a football fan, absolutely unacceptable,” siad REWE CEO Lionel Souque.
DFB spokesperson Stefan Simon told German tabloid Bild that a legal challenge to the decision had been filed with the International Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.
“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.
Simon said his organization was hopeful of reversing the ban in time for Germany’s second match against Spain on Sunday, restoring Manuel Neuer’s freedom to wear the armband without incurring penalties.