GENEVA (AP) FIFA came under pressure Wednesday from several European soccer federations who want their captains to wear a rainbow heart armband during World Cup matches in Qatar to campaign against discrimination.
France and Germany, the last two World Cup champions, were among eight of 13 European soccer teams that traveled to Qatar and joined the “One Love” campaign, which kicked off in the Netherlands. The Dutch team plays Qatar in Group A on November 29.
FIFA rules forbid teams from bringing their own armband designs to the World Cup and insist they must use equipment provided by the governing body.
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The bracelets are the latest battleground for players to push political messages related to the World Cup hosted in Qatar, where homosexual acts are illegal and the treatment of migrant workers building projects for the tournament has been a controversial topic. one of each.
“Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching,” England captain Harry Kane said in a statement.
The Swiss soccer federation said it wanted captain Granit Xhaka to wear an armband on which “you can see a heart with different colors representing the diversity of humanity.”
Footballers have embraced his platform for making statements in recent years. Kneeling on the pitch was routine before Premier League matches for two seasons following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer in the United States.
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FIFA supported taking a knee and must now decide whether to support some of its most influential member associations in a move that could embarrass Qatar.
“An application has also been made to FIFA asking for permission to wear the armbands during the FIFA World Cup,” the Welsh football federation said in a statement.
FIFA did not immediately comment on the request.
The campaign for the bracelets was launched a day after the Emir of Qatar spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York promising a World Cup without discrimination.
“The people of Qatar will welcome football fans from all walks of life with open arms,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a speech to other world leaders.
The eight European teams that supported the “One Love” campaign for human rights also included Belgium and Denmark. The five European qualifiers for the World Cup who did not participate on Wednesday were Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Serbia and Spain.
However, Poland’s captain Robert Lewandowski, a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, said this week that he would bring an armband in the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine’s flag to Qatar.
Poland refused to play Russia, the host of the 2018 World Cup, in a playoff match in March. Before the match, FIFA and European soccer body UEFA banned Russian teams from participating in international competitions because the country invaded Ukraine.
World Cup captains want to wear rainbow armbands in Qatar originally appeared on NBCSports.com