In a new development in the symbolic saga that has developed in the opening two days at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, FIFA have now told Belgium they can’t wear match shirts with ‘Love’ written on their collar.
The news comes less than 24 hours after it had first emerged that FIFA threatened on-field punishment for players of England FA and six other European FA’s if their captains wore the armbands in support of the “One Love” campaign instead of the FIFA approved ‘No Discrimation’ armband for matchday one.
No player had the “One Love” armbands Monday, although England’s Harry Kane wore the FIFA-approved “No Discrimination” armband that was offered as a compromise in the match with Iran.
The captains of seven European nations had vowed to wear armbands carrying the heart-shaped, multicolored logo of the “One Love” campaign, which promotes inclusion and diversity in soccer and society. That set up the prospect of worldwide viewers seeing a symbol of disapproval with the host country and defiance of FIFA on the arms of Kane, the Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk and Wales’ Gareth Bale on Monday.
“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings,” the seven soccer federations said in a joint statement, referring to the yellow cards.
The global players’ union FIFPRO called the FIFA move “disappointing.”
“Players must have a right to express their support for human rights on and off the field of play and we will support any of them who will use their own platforms to do so,” the union said. “We maintain that a rainbow flag is not a political statement but an endorsement of equality and thus a universal human right.”
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