Red Devils condemned by former State Secretary over One Love armband decision

Red Devils condemned by former State Secretary over One Love armband decision
CD&V's president Sammy Mahdi. Credit: David Catry/Belga.

Sammy Mahdi, leader of the Flemish Christian Democratic party CD&V, has criticised the Belgian national football team the Red Devils for not wearing the 'One Love' armband during the World Cup.

The former State Secretary for Asylum and Migration is urging Foreign Affairs Minister Hadja Lahbib (MR) to deliver a forceful reaction when she attends Belgium's game versus Canada on Wednesday evening.

On Monday, seven European nations at the World Cup, including Belgium, announced that they will abandon their plans to wear a 'One Love' armband in support of improving LGBT+ rights in host country Qatar, as well as inclusiveness for other minorities.

The teams' organisations and federations stated that FIFA had threatened their captains with sporting sanctions such as a yellow card, which might affect their eligibility to participate further in the tournament.

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In response, Sammy Mahdi, the President of the CD&V, stated that "we cannot take a knee at every game (in protest against racism) and give in to the threat as a yellow card in Qatar."

Mahdi also urged the Foreign Affairs Minister Hadja Lahbib to make a strong political statement at the Red Devils' first match against Canada on Wednesday evening, which she is due to attend.

"Our European teams can send an important signal on the field for human rights, women’s rights and the rights of the Holebis, under the eyes of the Qatari rulers and FIFA officials who blindly follow the views of this autocratic regime," he concluded.

Translation of tweet: "It is incomprehensible that all European teams are so afraid of FIFA sanctions. You cannot get down on one knee before every game and then succumb to the threat of a yellow card in Qatar."

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