As World Cup Starts, This Armband Is Forbidden

FIFA won't let European captains wear 'One Love' armband in support of LGBTQ rights
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2022 7:31 AM CST
As World Cup Starts, This Armband Is Forbidden
A screenshot of the forbidden armband.   (YouTubew)

The World Cup is underway in Qatar, as is a controversy over LGBTQ armbands. Several European nations had sought permission for their captains to wear rainbow-themed "OneLove" armbands in support of gay rights—as they have been doing for a while in other world tournaments—but soccer's governing body said no, reports ESPN. FIFA's decision is widely seen as another acquiescence to host nation Qatar, where sex between men is punishable by seven years in prison, per the Washington Post. (Qatar also has strict limits on the sale and consumption of alcohol, and FIFA has outlawed the sale of beer at this year's games.)

The captains of seven teams—England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland—planned to wear the armbands, even if it meant the teams had to pay fines, notes USA Today. But FIFA made clear just before the tournament began that penalties would be more severe: Any captain wearing such an armband would get a yellow card, and a second such card would get them tossed from a game. “We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented,” the teams said in a joint statement. “As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings.” (The latter refers to the penalty cards.)

Team USA, which plays its first game on Monday against Wales, was not among the teams that have been wearing the OneLove armbands in previous tournaments and had not asked to wear them at the World Cup. The American team has added a rainbow theme to its logo that it can wear at practices and such, but not, apparently, during FIFA-controlled games. Instead of the OneLove armband, FIFA says players can wear its own "No Discrimination" armband during World Cup games. (Read more World Cup stories.)

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