European teams scrap ‘One Love’ LGBT rights bracelet plan at World Cup

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France, England, Germany and four other European teams at the World Cup on Monday abandoned plans to wear a rainbow-themed armband in support of LGBTQ rights, citing the threat of disciplinary action from FIFA.

FIFA World Cup 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 © FMM graphic studio

fifa He has been very clear that he will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the pitch,” the seven teams said in a joint statement.

Under FIFA rules, players wearing equipment that is not authorized by world soccer’s governing body could receive a yellow card.

If that player was shown a second yellow card, they would be sent off.

The bracelets had been widely seen as a symbolic protest against laws in the World Cup host country Qatarwhere homosexuality It is illegal.

“As national associations, we cannot put our players in a position where they may face sporting sanctions, including reservations, which is why we have asked captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup matches. “, said the federations of England and Wales. , Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland said.

The relegation following FIFA threats came hours before England’s Harry Kane, Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk and Wales’ Gareth Bale wore the armbands in matches on Monday. The captains of Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had also promised to wear the armbands in the coming days.

“Our number one priority at the World Cup is to win the matches,” the Dutch soccer federation said in a separate statement. “So you don’t want the captain to start the game with a yellow card.”

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Monday’s decision highlights the political situation surrounding the first World Cup in the Middle East, even after FIFA president Gianni Infantino called on all 32 national teams to keep politics off the soccer field.

Since being awarded World Cup hosting rights in 2010, Qatar has faced years of criticism for its treatment of low-paid migrant workers, as well as the criminalization of gay and lesbian sex.

a testy meeting

FIFA raised the possibility of yellow cards on Sunday during a testy meeting with European soccer federations, including the seven teams that have pledged to wear the armband.

The One Love campaign started in the Netherlands and its symbol is a multicolored heart-shaped logo intended to promote inclusion and diversity in football and society.

However, the European plans clearly violated the World Cup regulations and FIFA’s general rules on the equipment of the teams in their matches.

“For the FIFA final competitions, the captain of each team must wear the captain’s armband provided by FIFA,” establishes the equipment regulations of the soccer body.

The armband dispute erupted two months ago when 10 European teams said they had joined the longest campaign in Dutch soccer, but it was still unresolved when the seven teams arrived in Qatar.

FIFA offered its own pledge on Monday, saying the captains of all 32 teams “will have the opportunity” to wear a “No Discrimination” armband in group stage matches.

FIFA’s original offer on Saturday was that “No Discrimination” – the only of its chosen slogans aligned with the desire of European teams – would appear only at the quarter-final stage.

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(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)