The German flag carrier is expected to fly the country’s men’s national soccer team to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup in an Airbus A330 that has been adorned with a special livery that features the words ‘Diversity Wins’ adorned in bold letters across its fuselage.
The design is widely believed to be a nod to the German soccer team’s support of LGBTQ+ rights, although Lufthansa says the livery represents its attitude that everyone is welcome onboard its aircraft “regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, nationality, identity or sexual orientation”.
The upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar is the most controversial in the organisation’s history – in part because of the country’s record on human rights, the deaths of hundreds of migrant workers in building the stadia for the tournament, and Qatar’s attitude towards LGBTQ+ people.
Germany’s team captain Manuel Neuer is expected to join a coalition of European team captains who will break FIFA rules by wearing a ‘One Love’ rainbow armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights during the World Cup.
Neuer recently slapped down a Qatari World Cup ambassador who described being gay as “damage in the mind”. Neuer said of the comments: “In no way does it fit with our world view. It’s unacceptable & very sad to hear such a thing”.
Eleven European football associations released a joint statement last week with a conciliatory message for FIFA and the Qatari World Cup organisers, praising the “significant progress” that had been made in the country but also calling on everyone to embrace “diversity and tolerance”.
Qatar has promised the safety, security and inclusion of all fans, including LGBTQ+ visitors, although organisers have urged visitors to “respect” local laws. Homosexuality is outlawed in the conservative Arab state.
Lufthansa will initially fly the German soccer team to their pre-tournament training camp in Oman on November 14, but the airline is expected to use the same jet to take the players the short distance from Muscat to Doha ahead of the World Cup.
The livery also features an illustration of a diverse mix of football fans linking arms. The work is the creation of German illustrator Peter Phobia who has also designed illustrations for Facebook, Nike, the New York Times and a host of other world-famous brands.
Lufthansa recently signed an extension of an agreement with the German Football Association to be the team’s official airline through the end of 2026.