Germany’s interior minister reproaches FIFA president for «big mistake» in banning armbands

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser during the first match of the German national team at the World Cup in Qatar. – Robert Michael/dpa

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Thursday that in a brief conversation with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, she reproached the body’s «big mistake» in banning armbands with the ‘One Love’ slogan during the World Cup in Qatar.

The German representative took advantage of her meeting with Infantino to also criticize the pressure that the governing body of international soccer has applied against the teams that announced that they would use the bracelet as a gesture of protest against the persecution of homosexuality in Qatar.

Faeser, who was present in the VIP box on Wednesday to watch the Germany-Japan soccer match, also added that he sat next to Infantino after the Qatari government representative failed to show up.

The interior minister went to the Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital of Doha wearing the controversial armband, which, she says, piqued Infantino’s own interest. «He asked me if that was the armband, so I said, ‘And it’s not as bad as you think, is it?» she has recounted.

BERLIN SUPPORTS NEUER’S GESTURE Despite FIFA’s announcement that it would sanction any player who appeared on the pitch wearing the controversial armband, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did take to the field wearing the garment.

This act of defiance has been supported by some of Germany’s cabinet ministers, such as Hubertus Heil, in charge of labor, who believes that «it is good that the (German) team is sending a signal».

«Of course there is a shadow over this World Cup and I think FIFA has caused a lot of damage,» Heil complained in statements to the German television channel N-TV.

In the same vein, Family Minister Lisa Paus said she was «speechless» when she learned that FIFA had banned the use of the armband.