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Germany examining legal action against FIFA armband stance

Germany's FA is looking at whether FIFA's threat of disciplinary action for wearing the One Love armband is legal. Photo: Andre Pain/AFP

Germany’s football association (DFB) said Tuesday it was examining if FIFA’s threat to impose disciplinary action against players who wear the “OneLove” armband at the World Cup tournament is legal.

The armbands had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in World Cup host Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Captains of several European teams had planned to wear the rainbow-themed armband as part of a campaign for diversity during the tournament hosted by Qatar, but they have backed down over the threat of FIFA disciplinary action.

“FIFA banned us from showing a sign for diversity and human rights. They combined this with massive threats of sports sanctions without specifying what these would be,” DFB spokesman Steffen Simon told AFP’s sports subsidiary SID.

“The DFB is checking if this action by FIFA is legal,” he added.

German daily Bild said the DFB could bring the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Lausanne-based international sports court said however that the case should first be put to a FIFA appeal commission.

It added that “there is no precedence at the CAS for this kind of authorisation refusal.”

German fans have been vocal about their opposition to Qatar as a host for the World Cup, with supporters of several high-profile Bundesliga clubs including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund urging boycotts.

But the German national team was also drawing fire for failing to take a stronger stand against FIFA’s stance on the armbands.

Earlier Tuesday, major German supermarket chain REWE said it was ending its partnership with the German football association with immediate effect over what it described as FIFA’s “scandalous attitude” in the escalating row over diversity.

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