Qatar’s DOHA — On Monday, a World Cup already rife with scandal gained a little more.
Seven national soccer teams from Europe, including England, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Wales, declared that their team captains would not support diversity by donning armbands because they feared sanctions from tournament officials on the field during the 2022 World Cup.
To support LGBTQ rights, the teams planned for their leaders to don armbands that said “OneLove” in rainbow colors. In Qatar, homosexuality is forbidden.
The European nations have since changed their minds, claiming FIFA, the world soccer organization, threatened the captains with receiving yellow cards. If players receive a second yellow card in the first round of group play, they run a higher danger of being sent off or being barred from participating in a subsequent game.
The European nations issued a statement in which they stated that they were willing to pay fines but added that they “could not put our players in a position where they would be booked or even compelled to leave the field of play.”
Wales, which will play the United States in its opening World Cup match, tweeted, “We’re annoyed. We are dissatisfied. However, we continue to support our LGBTQ+ Welsh football family members and hold fast to the notion that football is for everyone.”
“Today we feel contempt for an organization that has shown its true values by giving the yellow card to players and the red card to tolerance,” a group representing fans in England and Wales blasted FIFA.