DOHA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Denmark’s and Germany’s team captains will wear One Love armbands when they take the pitch at the World Cup in Qatar, their teams said on Saturday, as they prepare to compete in a country where same-sex relations are illegal.
Qatar has faced criticism from some countries playing in the 32-team tournament over its rights record on migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community.
“I know our captain will be wearing the One Love armband,” Danish midfieler Christian Eriksen said of captain Simon Kjaer at a news conference in Doha. “What the consequences will be, I don’t know, but we’ll see.”
According to FIFA rules, team equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.
German goalkeeper and captain Manual Neuer said on Saturday he also planned to wear the armband.
“We have the support of the German FA, our president and those responsible and so we have no fear,” he said.
“We are not the only ones (to wear the armband). We want to make a statement together.”
FIFA has urged World Cup teams to focus on soccer in Qatar and not let the sport be dragged into what it called ideological or political “battles.”
World soccer’s governing body already rejected Denmark’s request to train at the World Cup in shirts with the words “human rights for all” on them.
Same-sex relations are illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to three years in jail. Members of Qatar’s LGBTQ community have reported being detained, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). The group also accused authorities of ordering some transgender women to attend conversion therapy. read more
A Qatari official criticised the HRW report as containing false information and said the country does not license or operate conversion centres.
The United States have also showed their support with a rainbow-coloured logo inside their training facility.
Tournament organisers say that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome in Qatar, while also warning against public displays of affection.
Reporting Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Ilze Filks and Karolos Grohmann
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