World Cup teams bow to FIFA pressure, players will not wear pro-LGBTQ armbands

Bowing to pressure from FIFA, seven national football teams, including England, will not wear a rainbow armband showing solidarity with LGBTQ rights. This might result in receiving a yellow card for the show of support, reported Bloomberg on 21 November.

If captains wear the OneLove armbands during the match, they may face ‘sporting sanctions’, as per the threat from FIFA. Following this, football associations of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland said they would not wear a rainbow armband.

“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 football associations said in a joint statement, adding, “We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented.”

Ahead of the biggest sporting event in the globe, several European teams stated their intention to wear the armbands in support of LGBTQ rights in Qatar, as same-sex marriage is illegal in the Gulf country.

ALSO READ: FIFA World Cup 2022: England vs Iran prediction, time, live-streaming details

“Two days ago FIFA’s president spoke of inclusivity but this ruling shows his true colours,” Bloomberg reported LGBTQ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in an emailed statement.

“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,” he said.

Earlier on 20 November, while addressing media, FIFA president Gianni Infantino sparked a backlash in a speech said, “Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled.”

Addressing criticism of choosing Qatar to host the FIFA tournament, despite its human rights record on LGBTQ rights, gender equality and migrant workers, Infantino said, “I know what it means to be discriminated against.”

Meanwhile, adhering to the requests from the football associations, FIFA said that captains of every team will be able to wear a ‘No Discrimination’ armband.

“That FIFA wants to punish us on the field for this has never been seen,” the Dutch football association KNVB said in an online statement, adding, “This goes against the spirit of our sport that connects millions of people.”

The FIFA World Cup 2022 kicked off on 20 November at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor in Qatar, with the hosts Qatar being defeated by Ecuador by 2 goals. Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored two goals against Qatar.

England is all set to face Iran in today’s match at 6:30 pm IST at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

With Bloomberg inputs

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