OneLove Armband: What Is It, Why FIFA Ban It?

Sarhan Basem

Doha, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The ‘OneLove’ armband was launched in 2020. It is an inclusive campaign by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB). The purpose of this campaign is to oppose discrimination on race, skin color, and sexual orientation. Everyone shouldn’t be judged based on their faith, culture, nationality, gender, and age. While forming Armband a special design was introduced on the rainbow flag. It is in the shape of the heart and remains in the middle.

 There is a text printed ‘One Love’ on either side that states the words ‘Football connects’. The captain of various teams including England, Wales, Belgium, and Switzerland plans on wearing these Armbands. However, Qatar has banned it as they are against same-sex relationships.

What Are Qatar’s Thoughts On LGBT Rights?

Qatar is a conservative Muslim country and they are against LGBT rights. Homosexuality is illegal in Islam. However, most soccer players are raising their concerns against it. They don’t want to travel to such a conservative country. If rights are not given to gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), it is considered inappropriate for the Western World. All the Qatar laws are discriminating which is becoming a problem for other nations.

Khalid Salman who is the ambassador of the Qatar World Cup revealed his thoughts on this issue. He believes that homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’. Anyone who comes to Qatar must ‘accept the rules.

The organizers of the World Cup have stated that everyone irrespective of their race or sexual orientation is welcome to the World Cup tournament.  Nasser Al Khater who is the chief executive of the 2022 World Cup reveals another idea. He believes LGBTQ+ fans coming into the country should not worry about “persecution of any sort”. According to him, Qatar is a tolerant country.

Why Countries Did Not Wear Armbands?

The football association of various countries was planning to wear the Armband. However, they revealed that FIFA is threatening them not to wear it. If any player is seen wearing an Armband, he will be given a yellow card.

FIFA introduced many rules before the World Cup began. One of them was not to have any political, religious, or personal slogans during this competition. The captain of each team can wear Armbands only that are offered by FIFA. Wales revealed that all the countries that planned to wear an Armband of their choice will have to pay fines. They may even get banned from the tournament altogether.

Bernd Neuendorf who is the president of the German Football Association said he is not happy with FIFA’s decision.  It is not fair if the players have to bear the responsibility of any consequences when they decide to wear the Armband. Dutch is expressing unhappiness due to the rules formed by FIFA. They have decided not to wear the Armband with a ‘heavy heart’.

Are The Groups Outside Football Reacting?

The rules formed by FIFA are getting criticism from all groups. There are plenty of representatives from the LGBT group getting angry over this issue. A prominent group representing the fans of England claims:

 “More than disappointing that @FIFAWorldCup and @FIFAcom silence & deflection means European captains face starting games with yellow cards for trying to highlight issues around human rights’’. Amnesty International said FIFA has failed to uphold its image and responsibilities well.

The company who is manufacturing the band revealed that the bands were selling out fast. Almost 10,000 of them are sold out in the last few weeks. “The big boom came actually with the World Cup coming up and for sure the statement of FIFA to not allow these captain bands on the field”.

All the seven countries that are not allowed to wear ‘OneLove’ armbands during the World Cup in Qatar are considering many options. The Dutch Football Association has been making ways to do something about it. However, it seems that Global Football governing FIFA has threatened everyone to wear armbands. According to KNVB:

“All seven countries whose captains would have played with the ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband have jointly taken the decision not to go to the CAS at this time. However, we are jointly considering our legal position. We remain 100% behind ‘OneLove’ and its message… We are therefore continuing the ‘OneLove’ campaign, at home and abroad. He continued:  

‘Previously, the captains of the Netherlands and nine other countries played with the ‘OneLove’ armband on during Nations League matches. These fall under (European football body) UEFA and this caused no problems.”

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.