The issue of the ‘One Love’ armband at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar came up yet again when RMC Sport interviewed Eden Hazard after Belgium’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Canada in Doha on Wednesday night.
England, Wales, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium had all announced that they would wear the armband as a gesture for freedom and support for LGBTQIA+ rights, so the Red Devils captain was to have done so on Wednesday.
However, following a threat from the international football federation, FIFA, none of the teams took that risk.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about it because I’m here to play football,” Belgium’s No.10 told RMC Sport. “I did not want to start the match with a yellow card; it would have been bothersome for the rest of the tournament.”
Hazard was then asked about the gesture of the German team, whose players had posed on Wednesday with one hand in front of their mouths for the pre-match photo against Japan. The move was symbolic of what the team saw as FIFA’s desire to muzzle players’ freedom of expression.
“But then they lost the game (1-2). They would have done better not to do that and to win,” Hazard said. “We’re here to play football. I’m not here to pass on a political message. There are people better placed for that. We want to concentrate on football.”