Danish and German captains to wear rainbow bracelets despite FIFA’s last-minute proposal for alternative bracelets.
European football stars say they are going ahead with plans to wear rainbow colored armbands despite a last-minute FIFA proposal for World Cup captains to wear alternative armbands.
Captains, including German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, say they want to wear rainbow designs as part of the Netherlands-led “OneLove” anti-discrimination campaign as they prepare to compete in a country where same-sex relationships are illegal.
Qatar has drawn criticism from some countries participating in the 32-team tournament for its record on migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community.
Tournament organizers say everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or background, is welcome in Qatar.
FIFA, which a few weeks ago had not directly responded to Europeans’ request for permission to wear the heart-shaped logo, unveiled its alternative proposal on Saturday: bracelets promoting social messages such as “Football unites the world” and “Share the meal” in a United Nations-backed campaign.
Asked by reporters if he would ignore the FIFA plan, Neuer replied: “Yes.”
“It’s good that we have power with other countries in Western Europe,” Neuer said.
England, Wales and Denmark have also joined the campaign.
Under World Cup rules, kits such as captain’s armbands must be approved by FIFA, but Neuer said he would wear the ‘OneLove’ design even if it meant being fined by football’s governing body.
The FIFA slogans for group games include “SaveThePlanet”, “ProtectChildren”, and “ShareTheMeal”. “NoDiscrimination”, in line with the protest of the European teams, will be worn in the quarterfinals.
“These campaigns take into account feedback from our member associations who, like FIFA, are committed to using the power of football to create positive change around the world,” said a FIFA spokesperson.
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen said his country’s captain Simon Kjaer would also wear the rainbow armband regardless of possible disciplinary action.
“We as a country bear it; our captain will wear the OneLove bracelet,” said Eriksen.
“I don’t know what the consequences will be, but we’ll see.”
Denmark’s sporting director Peter Moller described the timing of the FIFA announcement as “a bit strange”.
“We think the [armband] what we’re playing with,” Moller said, “is an even stronger statement.”
Denmark had asked football association FIFA to wear shirts with the slogan “Human rights for all” during training sessions, but the request was rejected because it is a “political message”, according to the association.
England’s Three Lions would also be ready to support the “OneLove” campaign and would seek clarification on whether the rainbow bracelet and the FIFA bracelet can be worn together.
The US team has also shown their support with a rainbow colored logo in their training facility.