Germany coach Hansi Flick and midfielder Joshua Kimmich have shared their thoughts on the OneLove armband ban at the World Cup.
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Germany and other European nations had backed down from wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband at the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
The decision was made after FIFA urged captains to wear “No Discrimination” armbands instead, threatening with sporting sanctions, including bookings.
At a press conference yesterday, Germany coach Hansi Flick was asked about his stance on the OneLove armbands and potential sanctions.
“The reason for the armband was that the team wanted to make a point. FIFA put a stop to it and threatened punishments if it was on display. For those countries that played yesterday, it was extremely short notice. The armband is a symbol for diversity and values which we represent and live by,” Flick said.
“We treat each other with a great deal of respect and esteem, but as far as those values are concerned, there are parties who don’t see it that way. Yellow cards wouldn’t have been a problem, but the manner in which it was left open and threatened so shortly before the game put the likes of England and the Netherlands in a difficult position.
“There wasn’t any time to react to it; therefore those countries said that we will remove that pressure from the players’ shoulders. I think it’s a real shame that you aren’t allowed to stand up for human rights any more.”
Sitting next to Flick, Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich was also asked about the debate.
“At the end of the day, it was a decision made by the nations, all of which have contributed,” Kimmich said.
“Generally speaking, I was a little bit surprised because back in September when it was announced no one thought it would do much. Now, I’ve got the feeling that it is a powerful symbol. We have always spoken about the abuses and I believe that we, as players, should reflect them and point them out.
“We want to now focus on the sporting side of things. I’m personally really excited to finally be getting going. It was twelve years ago that the World Cup was awarded to Qatar, when I was 15. You are already in a bubble here, so you as the press have the opportunity to see what life is really like here.”