The FIFA World Cup is meant to be a time for celebration. It’s meant to be a time when the world comes together to celebrate a shared love of soccer and take in various cultural traditions. The 2022 FIFA World Cup, however, is anything but that.
Instead, the 2022 edition was sold out to Qatar, which used migrant slave labor to build its stadiums while boasting an absolutely appalling record on human rights. While most of the focus has been on the country’s lack of beer sales, another main topic of contention has been Qatar’s mistreatment of members of the LGBTQ community.
To speak out about these human rights abuses, seven European nations were set to wear rainbow captain’s armbands during the tournament with the phrase OneLove written on them. While it’s a relatively small gesture, it’s apparently too much for Qatar and FIFA to handle.
FIFA Bows To Qatari Pressure, Bans Rainbow Captains Armbands
Similar armbands have been worn in the past without issue, both for club and international games. But this time appears to be different. Because this time the games are in Qatar, and FIFA has no control.
FIFA has threatened to punish the nation with yellow cards to their captains for wearing the armbands, according to the Washington Post.
The countries issued a joint statement this morning explaining their decision to not wear the armbands.
FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play. As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”
The decision is reasonable. But you would have liked to see at least one team stand up in the face of FIFA’s cowardice. Amnesty International also issued a statement on the matter.
BREAKING: Amnesty International have responded to FIFA's threats to sanction players who planned to wear ‘One Love’ armbands to show support for the LGBTI community. pic.twitter.com/L3Y1DjcSRw
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 21, 2022
Though BBC Sport presenter Alex Scott, who played for the England women’s national team, did not back down.
FIFA may have banned England from wearing a Pride Armband on field at the World Cup, but English analyst Alex Scott is wearing it on the sideline as she broadcasts to the Nation. Positivity 1 Dystopia 0 🏴👑 pic.twitter.com/AUlLJ6gRjb
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) November 21, 2022
The decision yet again shows that the 2022 World Cup is not run by FIFA, but rather by the country of Qatar.