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Munich and Frankfurt to host regular-season NFL games

The NFL has said Munich will become the first host of a regular-season game in Germany in 2022 as part of plans to expand the sport's international reach.

A Cincinnati Bengals helmet lies on the sidelines during a practice. The Cincinnati Bengals will play the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl on February 13th.
A Cincinnati Bengals helmet lies on the sidelines. The Cincinnati Bengals will play the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl on February 13th. Munich and Frankfurt will host NFL games regularly in future. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Marcio Jose Sanchez

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena would host the game at a date to be confirmed.

The Munich contest is one of five fixtures taking place overseas in 2022, with three games scheduled for London and a further fixture to be held in Mexico City.

The NFL has long seen Germany as a key international market. Goodell said Munich and Frankfurt would share four regular-season games over the next four years as part of the deal.

“We are very pleased to welcome Munich and Frankfurt to the NFL family and are excited to reward our fans in Germany for their passion by bringing them the spectacle of regular-season NFL football,” Goodell said.

“We look forward to staging our first game in Germany at FC Bayern Munich’s fantastic stadium later this year and to exploring areas of broader collaboration with the Bundesliga.”

Munich and Frankfurt were among nine German cities vying for the right to host NFL games, with Dusseldorf just missing out after making a short-list of three. NFL Europe chief Brett Gosper said Dusseldorf could serve as a potential venue in the future.

“We are looking forward to partnerships with Munich and Frankfurt that will extend beyond the games and help us to deliver accelerated growth in Germany,” Gosper said.

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SPORTS

Germany players cover mouths in protest for World Cup photo

Germany's players covered their mouths for the team photo before their World Cup opener against Japan on Wednesday in protest at FIFA's refusal to allow rainbow-themed armbands.

Germany players cover mouths in protest for World Cup photo

Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear the anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament in Qatar as part of a campaign for diversity.

But they backed down over the threat of disciplinary action from football’s governing body, including yellow cards.

The rainbow armbands had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Germany’s football federation tweeted in English moments after the photo protest: “It wasn’t about making a political statement — human rights are non-negotiable.

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

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser did wear the “OneLove” armband as she watched the game sitting next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

She said FIFA’s ban was a “huge mistake”.

READ ALSO: German sports minister to attend World Cup amid human rights row

Not only players, but fans should also be allowed to show pro-LGBTQ symbols “openly”, Faeser told reporters in Qatar.

Supporters should “make a decision for themselves” about whether they wanted to wear the symbols, Faeser added.

The German government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said earlier in the day in Berlin that FIFA’s decision to bar captains from wearing the “OneLove” armbands was “very unfortunate”.

“The rights of LGBTQ people are non-negotiable,” Hebestreit said at a regular press conference.

Security staff at the World Cup have ordered spectators to remove items of clothing featuring rainbow logos.

Underlining tensions at the tournament over the issue, Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen said on Tuesday that he was “afraid” to talk about human rights. Vertonghen, speaking on the eve of Belgium’s opening game against Canada later Wednesday, said he did not feel comfortable.

“I’m afraid if I say something about this I might not be able to play tomorrow,” the defender said.

“It’s an experience I’ve never felt in football before. I feel controlled. I’m afraid to even say something about this.

“We’re just saying normal things about racism and discrimination and if you can’t even say things about it, that says it all.

“I want to appear on the pitch tomorrow, so I’ll leave it at that.”

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