Blinken calls FIFA’s “One Love” armband ban “regarding” as LGBTQ soccer followers lament “tarnished” World Cup


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized a choice by worldwide soccer’s governing physique FIFA to threaten gamers on the World Cup with yellow playing cards for misconduct in the event that they put on rainbow “One Love” armbands supporting inclusion and variety. Talking subsequent to his Qatari counterpart on Tuesday, Blinken mentioned “any restrictions on freedom of expression” have been “at all times regarding” to america.
“It is particularly so when the expression is for range and for inclusion,” he mentioned, “and in my judgment, not less than nobody on a soccer pitch ought to be pressured to decide on between supporting these values and taking part in for his or her workforce.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Qatar’s Overseas Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani go away after holding a press convention within the Qatari capital Doha, November 22, 2022.


FIFA introduced the ban on the armbands simply hours earlier than the primary sport acquired underway on Monday, with gamers on seven European groups set to don the nod to equal rights. Ultimately, not a single participant risked a yellow card to put on the band. Yellow playing cards are usually handed out by sport officers for unhealthy sportsmanship throughout play, and if a participant will get two of them, they’re ejected from the match.

Requested about Blinken’s remarks, FIFA referred The Related Press to an earlier assertion saying an settlement between the group and nationwide soccer federations to permit gamers to put on a “No Discrimination” armband as a substitute throughout the event.

Each FIFA and Qatar have been dogged by controversy for the reason that Gulf nation gained its bid to host the soccer event greater than a decade in the past. And the criticism has solely mounted amid last-minute adjustments to the foundations for each gamers and followers pushed by Qatar’s conservative Islamic authorities.

Intercourse outdoors of marriage is unlawful in Qatar and homosexuality might be punishable by demise. Blinken referred on Tuesday to these restricted rights, and the therapy of migrant staff who constructed the World Cup infrastructure, as points on which “actual work stays” to be accomplished.

Group claims migrant staff died whereas constructing World Cup Stadiums


“The USA will proceed to work with Qatar on strengthening labor rights and human rights extra broadly lengthy after the World Cup is over,” he mentioned.

That work cannot come quickly sufficient for LGBTQ soccer followers all over the world who’ve been torn between their ardour for the game, and their misgivings concerning the host nation.

Eric, who performs for an LGBTQ soccer workforce in London referred to as Stonewall FC, mentioned he was wanting ahead to watching the matches in Qatar, however to him, the world’s largest sports activities event was ceaselessly tarnished.

Eric, who performs for the LGBTQ soccer workforce Stonewall FC, speaks with CBS Information throughout a apply in London in November 2022. 

CBS Information

“Tarnished,” he informed CBS Information, “by the legacy of a rustic that has a lot work to do.”  

“There can be no circumstance that I would be comfy in Qatar, attending the World Cup, going to matches,” agreed his teammate Ziad.

The ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has insisted that everybody is welcome on the World Cup, together with homosexual soccer followers.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Qatar
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani throughout the fifth annual United States – Qatar Strategic Dialogue assembly in Doha, Qatar on November 22, 2022.

Amiri Diwan of the State of Qatar/Handout/Anadolu Company/Getty

“The World Cup is a superb alternative for individuals from totally different elements of the world to come back and expertise our tradition,” he mentioned. “We welcome everyone, however we count on — we additionally need individuals to respect our tradition.”

To many individuals, nonetheless, together with LGBTQ Qataris, that tradition and the legal guidelines it has produced characterize a risk.

Dr. Nas Mohamed, who lives and practices medication in San Francisco, claims to be the primary Qatari to come back out publicly as homosexual. However when he did so, earlier this 12 months, he informed CBS Information it introduced demise threats.

“Very truthfully, I’ve by no means been so afraid,” he mentioned.  He believes that if he went again to his dwelling nation, he’d be arrested.

Dr. Nas Mohamed, a Qatari nationwide who lives and practices medication in San Francisco, is seen in an undated private picture.

Courtesy of Dr. Nas Mohamed

“Qatar doesn’t have the sources proper now throughout the World Cup to exit of their approach, looking LGBT individuals,” he mentioned, suggesting the county was merely placing on a veil of tolerance whereas the world’s consideration was aimed its approach.  

When one among Qatar’s World Cup ambassadors, a former member of its nationwide soccer workforce, was interviewed by German tv, the veil slipped. He prompt homosexuality was a illness, brought on by “injury within the thoughts.”

Members of Australia’s World Cup workforce lately made a video demanding “the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships” in Qatar (under).

However one among soccer’s largest stars, David Beckham, has drawn condemnation for signing a profitable deal to advertise Qatar and its World Cup. 

The gamers at Stonewall FC mentioned they have been dissatisfied by his choice.

“I believe he is made a completely monumental error of judgment in signing as much as be an envoy for the World Cup,” Eric informed CBS Information.

Fellow participant George mentioned the soccer icon was “being offered” for “simply one other zero in his checking account, which might make no distinction to him. I believe it is a full sellout.”

Beckham didn’t reply to CBS Information’ request to supply his aspect of the story. He lately claimed, nonetheless, that the World Cup can be a platform for progress, inclusivity and tolerance.

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