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World Cup 2022: Captains will not wear ‘One Love’ armbands

On Monday, the first World Cup matches involving European nations will take place, most of whose captains declared they would wear special armbands as a gesture of solidarity with the LGBT+ community. However, those European nations have now reversed their decision.

England were one of several national teams to declare prior to the tournament they would wear armbands with the slogan ‘One Love’ and a heart in the colours of the rainbow – the symbol of the LGBT+ community.

The aim of the campaign was to call for equality and respect for people of a different sexual orientation. In Qatar, any orientation other than heterosexuality is banned.

It has been widely reported that referees will issue yellow cards at the beginning of matches for wearing the armbands.

Netherlands captain Virgil van Van Dijk had earlier stated: “I will wear the one love armband tomorrow. Nothing changed in our point of view. If I get a yellow card for wearing it then we will have to discuss it because I don’t like to play while being on a yellow.”

What are the rules?

However, the authorities stance towards armbands and other such equipment is in line with long standing FIFA regulations and not, as implied by some sectors of western media, bowing to pressure from Qatari authorities.

The FIFA Laws of the Game6 list, at Law 4, involves the basic compulsory equipment to be used by each player, it states that:

“The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images… The team of a player whose basic equipment has political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA.”

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According to British media outlet ‘The Telegraph’, FIFA handed down the final decision during a technical meeting with representatives of the national teams playing their matches on Monday.

FIFA’s match commissioner conveyed that the One Love armband was in breach of the rules. “The FA (English Football Association) is deeply frustrated by FIFA’s decision on the eve of the first match against Iran,” The Telegraph reported.

The FA’s own regulations however are no different to FIFA’s, in relation to the issue at hand their rules state: “Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.”

Qatar has been at the centre of various controversies in the lead up to this World Cup, according to a report published by British media outlet The Guardian last year, “More than 6,500 migrant workers… have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.”

Bearing these revelations in mind it seems that LGBT+ rights take priority for European football authorities over the mass deaths of the people who help build Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure.

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