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Qatari TV pundits mock German ‘OneLove’ armband protest after World Cup exit


Football pundits on Qatari channel Alkass Sports have mocked the German football team after their exit from the World Cup – mimicking the players’ human rights protest.

A video posted on the channel’s Twitter page on Thursday shows former Kuwaiti footballer Jamal Mubarak covering his mouth with his left hand and bidding farewell with his right, then calling out to former Egyptian goalkeeper and fellow analyst Essam El -Hadary to join him.

Shortly after, El-Hadary and other pundits cover their mouths and say goodbye – apparently to celebrate Germany’s exit.

The gesture mimics what German players did to protest FIFA’s decision to ban the “OneLove” armband that many European captains hoped to wear in Qatar in support of LGBTQ rights.

Ahead of Germany’s first match on November 23, the team’s starting line-up put their right hands over their mouths, a gesture to oppose what they saw as a crackdown on free speech .

Germany lost that game to Japan in a shocking upset. A subsequent win over Costa Rica on Thursday was not enough for Germany to climb out of the group stage and advance to the knockout stages.

“Thank God, today all Arab and Muslim nations (pray) for Japan to qualify with any team, but the most important thing is Germany’s exit,” Mubarak told the channel. Alkass Sports.

The segment aired on the channel’s al-Majlis show hosted by Qatari presenter Khalid Jassem and featured Arab football analysts including Mubarak, El-Hadary and former Iraqi player Younis Mahmoud.

Following Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain last Sunday, Jassem said in an episode of al-Majlis that he was “shocked” by Germany’s protest.

“You [Germany] are expected to respect our customs, traditions, culture and religion in the same way that we respect your customs, traditions and culture,” Jassem said. “When we go to Germany or elsewhere, we respect the rules and the laws, and respect everything that is dear to society there.”

In a series of tweets last week, the German Football Federation supported the protest, saying: “It was not about making a political statement – ​​human rights are not negotiable. This should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t. This is why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is like denying us a voice.

Ahead of the tournament, the captains of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark planned to wear the armbands – which feature a striped heart in different colors to represent all heritages, origins, gender and sexual identities – before FIFA warns. players, they could receive a yellow card if they did.

In the build-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” at the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people, regardless of age. origin”.

FIFA’s decision to sanction players wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband has nonetheless sparked anger, with the Football Supporters’ Association, the representative body for football fans in England and Wales, saying it “feels betrayed”.

“Since 2010, we have been raising questions about Qatar’s suitability as a World Cup host,” an FSA statement read.

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