by Zero Hedge

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In the latest World Cup Qatar 2022 controversy, FIFA has brought the hammer down on efforts of some teams and players from the West to highlight LGBT rights in the ultra-conservative Muslim host country of Qatar.

The FT reports Monday morning, “A bid by European teams to promote inclusion during the World Cup collapsed on Monday, after the Netherlands, England and Wales said threats from Fifa had forced them to abandon plans to wear rainbow-themed captains’ armbands.”

Harry Kane wearing the “One Love” armband, file image.

The three teams’ captains vowed to defy Qatar’s conservative Muslim laws and values by wearing “One Love” armbands during games in order to “send a message”. The “One Love” armband campaign had been initiated by the Dutch, while Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Belgium had also planned to participate. 

In total at least seven teams had planned to wear them during play despite the host country deeming homosexuality as illegal and against the moral teachings of Islam. But FIFA has now warned that teams and players with the armbands will face “sporting sanctions”. The football associations of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland issued the following statement in light of the “unprecedented” FIFA ruling

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”

“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented.”

Some of the teams had expected to merely face and pay fines for the public display, however, they were shocked to instead be threatened with sanctions directly effecting game play.

“Receiving a yellow card at kick-off would put players at heightened risk of being sent off during a match,” FT noted. According to official FIFA rules, “For Fifa Final Competitions, the captain of each team must wear the captain’s armband provided by Fifa.”

The U.S. men’s national soccer team unveiled a rainbow pride logo at their training facility, in support of the LGBTQ+ community, ahead of the World Cup in Qatar pic.twitter.com/gyDmgLjtAT— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 20, 2022

As for the US men’s team, they recently unveiled a rainbow-themed logo at their training facility in Qatar, and in some of their branding.

A team statement said, “As a result, locations that we will manage and operate at the Fifa World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow US Soccer branding.”

As for the European teams and the now banned “One Love” armband, their supposed “principled” stance collapsed pretty rapidly the moment they realized it could impact game outcome (given the Yellow Card threat) based on the FIFA ruling (revealing what it really is: yet more trendy virtue signaling in corporate branding based on “the current thing”).

On a public level Qatar has made efforts to assure there won’t be a police crackdown on public displays of LGBT+ among foreign spectators at the World Cup.

It remains that in Qatar homosexual acts can be punished with severe sentences, up to and including the death penalty