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SportsOne Love armbands in Fifa World Cup 2022: What the fuss

One Love armbands in Fifa World Cup 2022: What the fuss

The One Love armbands were created by football teams to show solidarity with LGBTQIA+ people, but flaunting this accessory could invite trouble in Qatar

Qatar, the Islamic kingdom where the Fifa World Cup is looking like an anachronism, thanks to its regressive code of conduct imposed on football fans, is uncomfortable with the woke. One armbands, intended to convey the message of tolerance, connection and opposition to all forms of discrimination, have been in the global spotlight since FIFA threatened several European team captains with yellow cards if they wore them to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Now Utrecht of the Netherlands, the company that makes the bands, says it is sold out after shipping 10,000, mostly in the past two weeks. “The big boom came actually with the World Cup coming up and for sure the statement of FIFA to not allow these captain bands on the field”, said Badge Direct BV Roland Heerkens in an interview.

LGBTQ armbands in demand in Islamic territory

Demand for the bands, in the since 2020 as part of an inclusiveness campaign by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), had been only “so-so” until this summer, Heerkens said.

The design incorporates a heart-shaped rainbow with the number 1 in the middle, surrounded by the text “One Love” on either side and “football connects” in cursive below.

The KNVB campaign opposes discrimination on the basis of race, skin colour, sexual orientation, culture, faith, nationality, gender, and “all other forms of discrimination.”

The armbands saw a spike in demand when team captains of Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Norway, Wales, Sweden and Switzerland decided to use them.

That was followed by demand from around the globe. These customers are those who want “to have the band and make a statement, all the way up to the European Parliament, who just ordered 500 pieces,” Heerkens said.

The bands are priced at just above manufacturing cost, at 4.99 euros ($ 5.15). A new batch of 10,000 will be sold on the KNVB webshop and Voetbalshop.nl when it becomes available.

-Islam conflict in Qatar

Since homosexuality is illegal and frowned upon in the host nation of World Cup 2022, Qatar, team captains decided to wear the rainbow armband, which reads the words ‘OneLove’  and has the number one (1) enclosed in a heart, to show their support. 

A few months before the World Cup, members of the LGBTQ community were detained and harassed by Qatar police. Given this track record, wearing the armband was intended to serve as a silent protest against the unfair treatment of the community.

Who is winning the war of cultures?

Islam. Like anywhere else in the world, the can condemn only non-Islamic communities but surrender at the first sight of Muslims.

Seven football team captains had agreed to wear the armbands as a silent protest. However, none of them would be wearing them anymore.

Fifa’s take

The ‘Shari’ah-compliant’ Fifa Equipment Regulations 4.3 states, “No item (of Playing Kit or other clothing or equipment or otherwise) may be worn or used in any Controlled Area if Fifa considers that it is dangerous, offensive or indecent, includes political, religious, or personal slogans, statements, or images, or otherwise does not comply in full with the Laws of the Game.”

Adhering to the aforementioned rule, Fifa has barred football players from wearing the armbands and that anyone who breaks the rule will be given a yellow card.

Instead of One armbands, Fifa has come up with its own armband, asking players to wear a different armband in every match to promote the sport. The Fifa owed armbands will feature slogans such as “Football unites the world” and “share the meal.”

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