The Danish and German referees wore rainbow armbands despite FIFA’s last-minute suggestion of alternative kits.
European soccer players have said they will go ahead with plans to wear rainbow colored armbands despite FIFA’s last-minute suggestion that World Cup officials wear other armbands.
The captains, including Germany’s Manuel Neuer, say they want to wear rainbow colors as part of the Netherlands-led “OneLove” campaign against racism, as they prepare to compete in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
Qatar has been criticized by other countries that play in the 32-team tournament because of its record of rights for migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community.
Race organizers say everyone, regardless of gender or ethnicity, is welcome in Qatar.
FIFA, which did not directly respond to the request of Europeans a few weeks ago to allow them to wear the heart-shaped logo, unveiled another idea on Saturday – tools to promote social messages such as “Football unites the world” and “Share food” campaign supported by the United Nations.
When asked by the media if he would ignore FIFA’s plan, Neuer replied: “Yes.”
“It’s good that we have strength with other countries in Western Europe,” Neuer said.
England, Wales and Denmark have also joined the campaign.
World Cup rules state that equipment such as captain’s armbands must be approved by FIFA, but Neuer said he will wear “OneLove”, even if it means paying a fine from soccer’s world governing body.
FIFA’s recommendations for team sports are “SaveThePlanet”, “ProtectChildren”, and “ShareTheMeal”. “NoDiscrimination”, which is in line with the protests of the European teams, should be worn in the quarter-finals.
“These campaigns have also taken into account the feedback received from our members who, like FIFA, are committed to using the power of football to make a difference around the world,” said a FIFA spokesperson.
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen said his country’s captain Simon Kjaer will wear the rainbow again, despite the penalty.
“We as a country are dressed; Our captain will be wearing a OneLove necklace,” said Eriksen.
“What the results will be, I don’t know, but we will see.”
Denmark’s sporting director Peter Moller described the timing of FIFA’s announcement as “a bit unusual”.
“We think that [armband] what we’re playing with,” said Moller, “is a very powerful voice.”
Denmark asked football governing body FIFA to wear shirts with the words “Human rights for all” during training sessions, but the request was rejected because it was a “political message”, according to the organization.
The Three Lions of England are also believed to be ready to support the “OneLove” campaign and it seems that they want to make it clear that the rainbow and FIFA can be worn together.
The United States team has also shown their support with a rainbow-colored logo inside their training camp.