FIFA reportedly threatened national team captains that they would be penalised if they wore the OneLove armbands in support of the LGBTQ+ community on the pitch at the World Cup.
England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland released a joint statement saying they were willing to pay fines if necessary, however they won’t risk their players getting booked.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is controversial for many reasons, one of them being the illegality of anything LGBTQ+ related in the country.
KU women’s captain Abigail Woolvin said: “I feel quite disappointed in FIFA to say the captains can’t wear it. I feel it shows that the players really care.
“It’s so important to recognise the problems in football and for everyone to stand strong together by it and encourage the change that needs to happen to stop these problems occurring.”
However, England did push a political message through with all their players taking the knee before kick-off in support of Black Lives Matter.
KU men’s captain, Dolapo Ige said: “I’m a strong believer in England’s campaign for inclusivity and eradicating discrimination.
“I’m proud that England were able to find another way to send a message without breaking the rules.”
FIFA, before the tournament began, pleaded with the involved nations asking them to focus on football and to leave politics aside.
Ige said: “I think mixing politics with football is more of a catchphrase used to avoid overarching issues and it should continue until there’s change.”
Woolvin said: “Football is football at the end of the day, and I feel with politics interfering sometimes it takes away the fun. No player or team should be spoken about negatively in regard to their stance on the matter.”
Qatar World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater told Sky Sports: “All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture [in Qatar].”
He added: “Everybody is welcome here and everyone will feel safe when they come to Qatar.”
Woolvin said: “It’s so important that we respect their culture as it is their home, I just hope in the future World Cups FIFA look after the situation better.”
Al Khater also felt Qatar is being unfairly scrutinised, being the first middle eastern country to host the World Cup and said it’s possibly related to racism.
Ige said: “I don’t think we can really argue with their rules to be honest, so best we can do is show support in the ways we’re allowed to.”