November 24 (Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the ‘OneLove’ armbands that captains of seven European teams planned to wear from November 20 to December. 18th World Cup in Qatar:
WHAT DOES THE ONELOVE BRACELET MEAN?
* The OneLove bracelets were originally launched in 2020 as part of an inclusion campaign by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB).
* The KNVB campaign against discrimination based on race, color, sexual orientation, culture, creed, nationality, sex, age and “all other forms of discrimination”.
* The design features a rainbow flag in the shape of a heart with a number one in the centre, surrounded by the text “One Love” on either side and the words “Football Unites” in italics below.
WHY DID TEAM CAPTAINS PLAN TO WEAR THE BRACELET AT THE WORLD CUP?
* The captains from England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark planned to wear the armbands to protest Qatar’s laws against same-sex relationships.
HOW IS QATAR’S RECORD RELATED TO LGBT RIGHTS?
* Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country and some footballers have raised concerns with fans traveling to the event, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and women, whose rights groups say the Qatari discriminate against laws.
* Less than two weeks before the finals, Khalid Salman, a Qatar World Cup ambassador and former international, told German broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality is “damage to the mind,” adding that anyone who comes to Qatar is “our accept rules here”.
* The organizers of the World Cup have repeatedly said that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or origin, is welcome during the tournament.
* Nasser Al Khater, the executive director of the 2022 World Cup, said LGBTQ+ fans coming to the country needn’t worry about “persecution of any kind” and called Qatar a “tolerant country”.
WHY DID COUNTRIES CHOOSE NOT TO WEAR THE BRACELET?
* In a joint statement, the football associations of countries planning to wear the armband said FIFA had threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing it.
* According to FIFA rules, team kits must not contain any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images, and during the FIFA final tournament the captain of each team must “wear the captain’s armband provided by FIFA”.
* Wales said the countries involved had been willing to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations, but sporting sanctions were a step too far.
* The President of the German Football Association, Bernd Neuendorf, said that while FIFA’s decision was unprecedented, it was unfair that players should take responsibility for possible consequences if they choose to wear it anyway.
* The Dutch FA said it made the decision not to wear the armband “with a heavy heart”.
HOW DID NON-FOOTBALL GROUPS REACT TO THE DECISION?
* The move met with swift and scathing criticism from groups representing the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.
* “It is beyond disappointing that @FIFAWorldCup and @FIFAcom Silence & Deflection means European captains are being confronted with yellow cards early in matches for trying to highlight human rights issues,” said 3LionsPride, a group representing England fans .
* Amnesty International said FIFA failed to uphold its own values and responsibilities.
Compiled by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford
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