The Qatar World Cup kicked off less than a week ago and it has not been without controversy.
Firstly they banned alcohol sales around stadiums. Prompting one of their sponsors to tweet this…
This was deleted fairly quickly.
Then FIFA president Gianni Infantino said to the 32 teams to focus on the “football”.
It was then followed by the FIFA ruling that anyone wearing the OneLove armbands would have faced sanctions.
The OneLove armbands were created in Holland in 2020. It was started by the Dutch FA to promote unity and stand against discrimination, under the premise that all football fans share one thing in common – their love for football.
FA CEO Mark Bullingham said, “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.”
FIFA threatened to book any captain wearing the OneLove rainbow armband in World Cup matches. It could have also potentially faced a one-game ban.
The Qatar government says that photographing any government-related items is not permitted.
This has led news reports to be shut down by police.
Qatar has reversed it’s bans and said it would follow FIFA guidelines to promote tolerance of rainbow flags in stadiums.
But there have been two cases of rainbow flags not being allowed in.
Joseph Ballard, who plays the drag queen Titania Trust, feels let down by the players for not wearing the arm band.
“Our country could have done something.”
“When it comes to Human rights, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye.”
“You’ve got LGBT+ fans over there not feeling safe. And that OneLove armband would have meant a lot. There was an opportunity for them to make a statement. Yes, they are there to play football, but when the world is watching that is the time to make the statement.”