Protest and allyship risks more than yellow cards
By Lydia Cronin
Before the men’s World Cup began, a number of football captains had committed to wearing a One Love armband in protest against Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality and as a mark of allyship.
Yet, this commitment quickly fell away when FIFA, the international governing body for football, announced that all players wearing the armbands would receive a yellow card. Now, no captains can be seen wearing the armbands in their games. Many have voiced their disappointment that this small gesture of allyship quickly fell away after the sanction was introduced.
However, one armband did make an appearance. Alex Scott, a former England footballer and current BBC Sport presenter, was seen wearing the armband on camera during the event. Alex Scott, a former England footballer and current BBC Sport presenter, was seen wearing the armband on camera during the event.
We ran a poll last week asking how footballers should make a stand during this year’s men’s World Cup.
- 45% of voters said players should wear the One Love armbands.
- 47% thought a boycott of the event entirely would be more appropriate.
- 5% thought players should not be taking part in any form of protest.
Other, stronger, examples of protest and allyship have been seen at the event. The German team elected to cover their mouths to suggest they had been gagged by Fifa’s rulings, and some players’ boots and warm up kit featured rainbows. Their statement read: “It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable […] Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”
The Iranian team, in solidarity with the ongoing protests in Iran, chose not to sing their national anthem at the World Cup. This was a brave decision, as public figures speaking out against the Iranian government during this time have been arrested, and there are now growing fears about potential reprisals for the Iranian national team.
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