The seven European teams, which had planned to wear a colored “One Love” bracelet in favor of inclusion and against discrimination, gave up on Monday to do so in the face of the threat of “sports sanctions” during the World Cup in Qatar, they announced to a few hours of the England-Iran match.
“Fifa has been very clear, it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the pitch. As national federations, we cannot ask our players to risk sporting sanctions, including yellow cards,” these seven federations wrote.
England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland They have therefore renounced their respective captains receiving a yellow card for this inclusive bracelet, feeling “frustrated” by Fifa’s inflexibility.
Initially, France, which was a member of the “One Love” initiative, had announced in the words of its captain Hugo Lloris that it would not wear the armband.
“We were ready to accept applicable fines in case of non-respect of the kit rules and we were very committed to that bracelet. But We cannot put our players in a situation where they can be booked, and even have to leave the field.” (in case of a second yellow card), justify the federations.
The kit regulations provide for captains to wear “the armbands provided by Fifa” during the final phases. Otherwise, the referee can ask the player to leave the field to “correct his outfit”, and in case of non-compliance with this instruction, the player can be reprimanded at the referee’s discretion.
It should be remembered that last Friday, Germany announced that it was “ready to pay the fines”, according to the president of the national federation (DFB). “If there are financial sanctions, in a personal capacity I am ready to pay the fines,” said Bernd Neuendorf, patron of the institution.
The preparation for the tournament was dominated by concerns about respect for the rights of workers, women and the LGBTIQ + community in the emirate territory.
Prior to the recent decision, Manuel Neuer, the Mannschaft goalkeeper, He promised – like other captains of European teams – to wear a “One Love” bracelet to promote diversity and inclusion.
This gesture “It is not political, it has a commitment value in favor of human rights. We do not rule out other actions”, Neuendorf warned, regarding Fifa’s statements on these matters. “We must send a strong signal,” he added. “Saying that we shouldn’t focus on human rights during the World Cup, that really irritated me.”
Fifa, in the words of its president, Gianni Infantino, advised the 32 participating teams in early November to “concentrate on football” and also asked the teams not to “give more moral lessons”, before banning Denmark train with t-shirts in favor of human rights.
Neuendorf also repeated that the German federation did not support the candidacy of the Swiss leader, the only candidate in the March 2023 election and at the head of Fifa since 2016.
Four-time world champion Germany will start the tournament against Japan on November 23 in a group it shares with Spain and Costa Rica.
Since its appointment to host the event in 2010, Qatar has been the subject of much criticism that has intensified as the event has approached, especially on the human rights of migrant workers who have worked on the World Cup sites and LGBTIQ+ people.
The statements by members of the organizing committee have increased criticism from around the world about possible acts of discrimination in the month of the World Cup, although Fifa ensures that the rights of all attendees, regardless of their inclination, will be respected inside and outside the venues. stadiums.
*With information from AFP.