World Cup teams back down from wearing One Love armband after FIFA threat

World Cup teams back down from wearing One Love armband after FIFA threat
Credit: Virginie Lefour/Belga.

Belgium is among the seven European countries that will refrain from wearing the One Love armband for LGBT rights at the World Cup in Qatar after FIFA threatened to impose sporting sanctions on captains wearing the band in question at the start of the match.

On Monday, England, Wales, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium all issued a joint statement to indicate that they have asked their captains not to wear the One Love armband. The move was supposed to be a statement in defence of the rights of the LGBT+ community, as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and people can face a maximum seven-year prison sentence.

"We wrote to FIFA in September to inform them of our desire to wear the One Love band to actively support inclusion in football and we have received no response," the statement read.

"We were ready to accept the fines for wearing the band," they echoed, "but we cannot put our players in situations where they immediately receive sporting sanctions, such as a yellow card. This goes against the spirit of sport."

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As a result, Belgian captain Eden Hazard will therefore not wear the band during the Red Devils' opening match against Canada on Wednesday.

In response, Amnesty International has stated that" FIFA does not care about social debates and criticism of the World Cup."

They added that "it was already bad that they did not provide a compensation fund for the affected workers in Qatar, as we requested," but "they are also putting a ban on the One Love band, because that's basically what it comes down to. It's unthinkable."

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