World Cup captaincy: signs against discrimination, but no rainbow

Status: 21-09-2022 20:15 hrs

The DFB and seven other teams want to show their stance against discrimination during the World Cup with a colorful captain’s armband. It’s not a rainbow, because the campaign aims to combat any form of discrimination. FIFA faces a dilemma.

Several European football associations have announced that their captains will wear the bracelet at the World Cup in Qatar (November 20 to December 18, 2022). It shows a heart with bright colors and the inscription “One Love” (“One Love”), according to the DFB “Set an example against discrimination and for diversity”. In addition to the DFB, the following associations want to use the captain’s armband:

  • England
  • The Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Wales
  • France
  • Denmark
  • Sweden*
  • Norway*

*not qualified for the World Cup

All ten teams have announced that they will use the armband in upcoming UEFA Nations League matches, and the captains of the eight teams that qualified for the World Cup in Qatar will also wear the armband throughout the tournament. But does FIFA allow that?

FIFA prescribes: Uniform dressing, no political messages

In the rules of the tournament published by the FIFA World Federation, there are two paragraphs that can get in the way of the link. On the one hand, FIFA writes that they will provide every team with equipment such as captain’s armbands, “to be used in the stadium and during official training sessions. No other similar equipment is allowed”, according to the tournament rules. In addition, in the document FIFA prohibits the dissemination of political messages of any kind by players and officials, including on all equipment. This puts FIFA behind the IOC, which recently allowed at least a small space for expression.

“Living Football” – Manuel Neuer’s captaincy at the 2018 World Cup

A request from the sports show to FIFA whether they consider the connection with the colorful heart and the “One Love” inscription as a political message and whether the teams should fear disciplinary action has so far gone unanswered. With their announcement, the federations confront FIFA with the situation that they have either banned an action against discrimination or rejected the host of their main tournament.

Fan representative Minden: ‘There must be more attitude than this connection’

The criminalization and discrimination of homosexuals is one of the many criticisms of the host of the World Cup. However, the colors on the bandage, which German captain Manuel Neuer should also wear at the World Cup in Qatar, are not a rainbow symbol. The campaign is therefore not specifically aimed at discrimination against people from the LGBTQI+ community, but at all forms of discrimination.

“It seems weak that it didn’t even turn out to be the right rainbow colors for the LGBTQ flag”says Dario Minden, 2nd president of the German fan association “Unsere KURK”, in an interview with the sports show. “But that was certainly the lowest common denominator between the ten associations. It is clear that more attitude is needed than this connection. We also expect and assume that the DFB has more plans and we are excited.”

Minden chose clear words from the Qatari ambassador about human rights at the World Cup at a DFB conference on Monday. “Football is for everyone. We can’t let you break this rule. No matter how rich you are”said Minden.

Qatar demands ‘respect for our culture’

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, has repeatedly said that everyone is welcome at the World Cup. ‘The people of Qatar will welcome football fans from all walks of life with open arms’Al Thani told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. During a visit to Berlin in May, he added: “But we expect our culture to be respected.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Nasser Mohamed, a doctor from Qatar, spoke in an interview with the BBC of the fear “risk his life”, if his homosexuality had become known in Qatar. He now works in San Francisco.

“One Love” – ​​​​a promotion from the Netherlands

The ‘One Love’ campaign, which is printed on the captain’s armbands, goes back to the Dutch federation. It was launched in 2020 after the player Ahmad Mendes Moreira was racially abused during a match of his club Excelsior Rotterdam at FC Den Bosch in November 2019.

Ahmad Mendes Moreira (center) was racially insulted at FC Den Bosch in 2019.

According to the DFB, the idea originated in a UEFA working group dealing with the human rights situation in Qatar, with Secretary General Heik Ullrich representing the DFB in the group.

The rainbow was a defining theme of the EM 2021

Netherlands national team captain Georginio Wijnaldum wore the “One Love” bracelet at Euro 2021 in a match against the Czech Republic in the Hungarian capital Budapest. There had been several discussions about the rainbow as a symbol on the EM before. Manuel Neuer’s rainbow bracelet, which he used at the time, was “checked” by UEFA, but found to be trouble-free.

Georginio Wijnaldum at the European Championship 2021 with the song “One Love”

However, UEFA objected to the rainbow colors of the Munich stadium during the Germany-Hungary match, because, according to the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, it was explicitly intended to protest against a parliamentary decision by Hungary banning the freedom of information on homosexuality. restricted .

Lewandowski wants to wear a bandage with the flag of Ukraine on it

In general, captain’s armbands can become a problem at the World Cup. Robert Lewandowski, captain of the Polish national team, was presented with a bracelet in the Ukrainian colors by Ukrainian football legend Andrei Shevchenko in Warsaw. “It will be an honor for me to wear this captain’s armband at the World Cup”said Lewandowski.

FIFA, which initially wanted the Russian team to play under the name ‘Russia Football Union’ after the start of the attack on Ukraine, faces a similar dilemma here.

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