European teams abandon ‘One Love’ armbands at World Cup

Captains of many European teams had planned on wearing an arm band from the ‘One Love’ campaign during their appearances at soccer’s World Cup. Governing body FIFA has however threatened to fine the players and teams if the armbands are worn on the field.

The international campaign promotes inclusion in sport and fights against racism and homophobia.

Seven European countries had informed FIFA that they planned to wear the arm bands months ago, and they never got any response from the organisation. On the first day of the competition though a ruling banning the symbol was delivered.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.” the teams said in a joint statement.

“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.

“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football and had no response.

“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.” the teams said.

Cymru (Wales), the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany and Switzerland had all agreed to support the initiative.

British commentator Gary Lineker mocks the ruling

British commentator and formal player Gary Lineker opened his commentary on England’s first game by mocking a speech given by FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.

“Gianni Infantino obviously not feeling armbands today,” Lineker said at the start of England’s game against Iran.

Peter Tatchell says FIFA are showing their ‘true colours’ on the issue of inclusivity

British LGBTIQA+ rights activist Peter Tatchell said the move showed FIFA’s true colours when it came to inclusivity.

“The OneLove armband was the tiniest of gestures. It did not even specifically mention LGBT+ people. It was a weak campaign but even that was too much for FIFA, who have bullied the England team to not wear it.

“Two days ago, FIFA’s president spoke of inclusivity, but this ruling shows his true colours.” Tatchell said.

“I urge the team captains at their post-match press conferences to spend just 30 seconds to speak out for the rights of women, LGBTs and migrant workers. That would have a huge impact, reaching a global audience of hundreds of millions of people.

“FIFA have crushed the OneLove campaign with the threat of yellow cards. It’s time to show FIFA and Qatar the red card,” Peter Tatchell said.

FIFA proposed alternative campaign with less Pride rainbows

FIFA said in a statement it has proposed alternate armbands that would promote social messages, including “Football unites the world” and “Share the meal” in a United Nations-backed campaign. Their alternative campaign however does not feature the pride rainbow for LGBT rights.

Host nation Qatar has been widely criticised for its human rights violations, criminalisation of homosexuality, treatment of women and poor treatment of foreign workers.

OIP Staff

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