Football pundits on Qatar’s Alkass Sports channel mock the German football team after its departure from the World Cup – mimicking the players’ protest against human rights.
A video posted to the channel’s Twitter page on Thursday shows former Kuwaiti footballer Jamal Mubarak covering his mouth with his left hand and waving goodbye with the right, before hitting former Egyptian goalkeeper and fellow analyst Essam El-Hadary. calls to join him.
Soon after, El-Hadary and other pundits cover their mouths and wave goodbye – apparently to celebrate Germany’s departure.
The gesture mimics what the German players did to protest FIFA’s decision to ban the “OneLove” bracelet that many European captains hoped to wear in Qatar in support of LGBTQ rights.
Ahead of Germany’s first game on November 23, the team’s starting line-up posed with their right hands over their mouths, a gesture to oppose what they saw as a restriction on freedom of expression.
Germany lost that match to Japan in a shock upset. A subsequent win against Costa Rica on Thursday was not enough for Germany to make it to the group stage and advance to the last 16.
“Thank God all Arab and Muslim countries are praying today for Japan to qualify with any team, but the most important thing is Germany’s departure,” Mubarak said on Alkass Sports Channel.
The segment aired on the channel’s al-Majlis show, hosted by Qatari presenter Khalid Jassem and featuring Arab football analysts including Mubarak, El-Hadary and Iraqi former player Younis Mahmoud.
Following Germany’s 1:1 draw against Spain last Sunday, Jassem said on an episode of al-Majlis that he was “appalled” by Germany’s protest.
“You [Germany] are supposed to respect our customs, traditions, culture and religion in the same way we respect your customs, traditions and culture,” said Jassem. “When we go to Germany or other places, we respect the rules and laws, and we respect everything that society holds dear there.”
In a series of tweets last week, the German Football Association supported the protest, saying: “It was not about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should go without saying, but it still isn’t. That’s why this post is so important to us. Denying us the bracelet is the same as denying us a vote.”
Prior to the tournament, captains from England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark planned to wear the bracelets – featuring a striped heart in different colors to represent all races, backgrounds, genders and sexual identities – before the FIFA warned players they could get a yellow card if they did.
In the run-up to the World Cup, host country Qatar – where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison – has come under fire for its stance on LGBTQ rights.
However, the country has insisted that “everyone is welcome” to the tournament, adding in a statement to DailyExpertNews this month that “our track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people, regardless of their background.”
FIFA’s decision to penalize players for wearing the “OneLove” armband has nevertheless sparked outrage, with the Football Supporters’ Association, the representative body for football supporters in England and Wales, saying it “feels betrayed” .
“Since 2010, we have been asking questions about Qatar’s suitability to host the World Cup,” the FSA said in a statement.