Historic Wembley Stadium glowed in rainbow colors Friday evening in a protest against FIFA. The world’s governing body of the sport essentially banned OneLove captain armbands only hours before the World Cup began.
FIFA previously okayed the armbands leading up to the November 20th start of the tournament. Seven teams, including England, Wales and Germany, all planned on wearing the armband throughout the World Cup. However, FIFA quickly raised issues with the OneLove campaign.
OneLove is essentially against discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, sexual orientation, faith, gender, and nationality. The campaign launched in 2020 and promotes diversity and inclusion.
FIFA, however, issued warnings to these seven teams in the final minutes leading up to the tournament. England Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has claimed that the organization threatened ‘unlimited’ sanctions against wearing the rainbow armbands.
English FA claims heavy sanctions with OneLove armband
“[FIFA] ran us through a scenario where at a minimum anyone wearing the armband would be booked and face disciplinary action on top of that,” Bullingham told ITV on Friday.
“It was unlimited. They would take disciplinary action against any player that was wearing the armband on top of having a yellow card. It’s not clear though they just said they would take disciplinary action and obviously there’s unlimited liability effectively in that action.”
Wembley Stadium a rainbow amidst bans
Rainbow bucket hats donned by Wales fans were also confiscation by stadium officials this week as well. United States soccer journalist Grant Wahl claimed that he was briefly denied stadium entry for wearing a rainbow-colored shirt as well.
FIFA, and the World Cup host nation of Qatar, have come under intense scrutiny for their stance on human rights issues. In fact, homosexuality is currently illegal in the Middle Eastern country. It is one of a number of concerns for the public surrounding the Qatari host of the World Cup.
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