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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 29, 2022

Qatar didn’t force German team’s “diversity plane” back to Oman before World Cup

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  • Germany’s national men’s soccer team flew to its training camp in Oman on a Lufthansa plane that said “Diversity Wins,” a message seen as a rebuke to World Cup host country Qatar’s human rights record.
  • The team took a separate regional flight to Qatar from Oman, saying it wouldn’t be environmentally sustainable to take the Lufthansa flight there because it would return to Oman empty. 

Whether the German men’s soccer team reaches to the World Cup’s knockout round hinges on two upcoming games. But some social media users are focused on the past and an alleged incident that didn’t happen. 

"Qatar refuses to receive the German national team’s plane, which bears the g@y logo, which forced them to return the plane to the airport of the Sultanate of Oman, and it was replaced by another plane that did not bear any logo," one Instagram post says. It includes an image of a Lufthansa plane with an illustration of eleven people arm-in-arm and the words "Diversity Wins."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Germany’s players covered their mouths for a photo before their first World Cup match to protest plans by FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, to punish players who wore "One Love" armbands during games. The armbands were a response to the human rights record of Qatar, the World Cup’s host nation. 

It’s airplane — the one pictured in the Instagram post — was also considered as a political message. Lufthansa is the official airline of the men’s team, but Nov. 13, it posted on its website that it would be flying only the team’s players, coaches and support staff to their training camp in Oman the following day. 

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The team flew on a regional airline from Oman to Qatar a few days later. The World Cup started Nov. 20. 

The German team said in a statement that it and the airline decided not to take the Lufthansa plane to Qatar because it would be empty on its return from Doha. The decision was rooted in environmental sustainability, the team said. 

The Instagram post’s image shows the team before boarding the plane in Frankfurt on Nov. 14. It doesn’t show Qatar refusing to accept the plane, forcing its return to Oman. 

We rate that claim False.


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Qatar didn’t force German team’s “diversity plane” back to Oman before World Cup

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