Hansi Flick: “I’m sorry we can’t be here and take a stand for human rights.”

Speaking ahead of Germany’s opening World Cup game against Japan on Wednesday, Hansi Flick discussed the threat of sanctions that nations would face if they chose to wear the One Love armband at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

“About the armband, together with the DFB and the other countries, we wanted to do this to take a stand and then what happened is FIFA threatened us with sanctions and the associations were told at short notice,” said Flick. “If you want to run a campaign as a group, you should stick to decisions.

“Of course, it’s a shock for the team to not do it, it was a sign of human rights and diversity and the way I treat my team, the values I and the team represent, well all of that is based on mutual respect, mutual appreciation, that’s just part of life. I expect that from everyone.”

The One Love campaign was threatened with sanctions by FIFA, forcing nations to back down from wearing the rainbow coloured armband. Speaking on possible sporting sanctions, Flick added: “We talked about it, a yellow card can happen. If Kimmich has to leave the pitch, we have options.

“However, it was unclear and the mere threat of sanctions was difficult for us, especially because it was so short notice before the England and Netherlands games, that’s when it was communicated. We didn’t have time to react, the federations decided to take responsibility off the players’ shoulders.

“I’m sorry we can’t be here and take a stand for human rights.”

England would have been the first nation to wear the One Love armband and their build-up to Monday’s game against Iran was dominated by headlines as to whether Harry Kane would wear the rainbow coloured armband.

In the hours leading up to Germany’s World Cup opener against Japan on Wednesday, the DFB are planning on taking legal action against FIFA. The German FA are planning to sue FIFA through the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Germany will be without Leroy Sané for tomorrow’s game against Japan but Thomas Müller remains an option as Die Mannschaft look to get their campaign off to a winning start.

GGFN | Daniel Pinder

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