UEFA teams won’t wear the OneLove armband during the World Cup after FIFA threats

Seven World Cup soccer teams from Europe have announced that their captains would not wear the OneLove armband in Qatar after FIFA, the organization that oversees the competition, warned that players who do so will face consequences. To encourage diversity and inclusiveness at the World Cup, the captains of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland planned to wear the OneLove rainbow armband.

In the run-up to the event, Qatar’s attitude toward human rights has drawn criticism, particularly questions over the treatment of migrant workers and the conservative Persian Gulf nation’s position on LGBTQ individuals. According to a recent U.S. State Department report, having sex with another man is illegal in Qatar and is subject to a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

FIFA has suggested that armbands from its distinct “No Discrimination” campaign, which was set to launch with the quarterfinals, can be worn by national captains. The international soccer federation said in a separate statement earlier during the tournament that it had moved up the launch of its “No Discrimination” campaign to enable all 32 national captains to don that armband for the duration of the competition.

OneLove armband History

The Dutch soccer team came up with the idea for the OneLove campaign, and in September the first 10 European teams joined. They decided that their captains would don a rainbow armband to oppose prejudice and encourage inclusivity. The first team to openly declare that captain Virgil van Dijk will not be wearing the armband was also the Netherlands.

The KNVB, the nation’s football organization, stated in a statement that FIFA had “clearly” informed them hours before the first game that the captain would earn a yellow card if he wore the “OneLove” captain’s armband.

Penalizing team captains before the games even start would put them at a competitive disadvantage from the start, with ejection following a second yellow card. No items of clothing or equipment may be worn if they are deemed “dangerous, provocative or indecent” or carry “political, religious or personal slogans,” however the foundation stated that for any potential FIFA punishments against players has not been made public before now.

Rox and Ken react to how FIFA is protecting Qatar and the value of performative activism.

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