‘Use your voice! Wear the armband!’

The Germany players engaged in a protest for their team photo ahead of their opening World Cup game against Japan in response to FIFA’s ban of the OneLove armband, but Roy Keane believes they should have gone further.

The German FA (DFB) confirmed that the players came up with the idea of covering their mouths for the team photo ahead of the clash in Qatar.

Germany were one of seven European nations that backed down from wearing the armband, intended to promote diversity and inclusion, after FIFA told them on the eve of the tournament that they would face sanctions, including an automatic yellow card for the captains.

ITV pundit Ian Wright backed the gesture, saying: “They wanted to wear the armband to protest and I’m delighted for them because they’ve done something and it’s on a global stage.

“It’s a global moment for people to see and for the LGBT community to see that people are standing with them in solidarity. That’s fantastic from the Germans. I hope the other teams maybe do the same.”

But Roy Keane – who has been attacking human rights abuses like lazy midfielders during this tournament – said: “It’s a gesture and it’s a start but I think they can do a lot more. They say they have been silenced. By who? By who?”

“The most important people in football are the supporters and the players. Use your voice! Use your voice! Wear the armband. Leadership is about action, Go and do it.

“It’s a gesture and it’s a start but they can do more.”

A statement from the DFB said: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect.

“Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.

“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.

“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”

The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the DFB were looking into legal action against FIFA.

“Fifa has forbidden us from using a symbol of diversity and human rights,” said DFB media director Steffen Simon.

“They combined this with massive threats of sporting sanctions without specifying them.

“The DFB is checking whether this action by FIFA was legal.”

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