European nations weigh legal options over ‘OneLove’ armband ban

One Love armband - Credit YouGov

Seven European nations are weighing their legal options after their teams were prevented from wearing the “OneLove” armbands during the 2022 World Cup.

According to the Dutch football association (KNVB) on Wednesday, November 23 the seven teams are jointly looking at what action they should take after the global soccer governing body FIFA threatened to book any player wearing the armband.

The arm bands, which were to be worn by Belgium, England, Wales, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, were introduced to support diversity and inclusion.

Although the teams originally said they would pay any fines, they were forced to back down after the threat to book players wearing the arm band.

A number of teams have protested the ban, none more so than Germany who prior to their loss to Japan, saw players place their hands over their mouths in a gesture they were gagged.

The team also displayed the colours of the LGBTQ movement during warm-up, whilst some wore specially designed football boots containing the colours.

The KNVB said “All seven countries whose captains would have played with the ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband have jointly taken the decision not to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) at this time.

“However, we are jointly considering our legal position. We remain 100 per cent behind ‘OneLove’ and its message… We are therefore continuing the ‘OneLove’ campaign, at home and abroad.

“Previously, the captains of the Netherlands and nine other countries played with the ‘OneLove’ armband on during Nations League matches. These fall under (European soccer body) UEFA and this caused no problems.”

At the heart of the ban is the standard practice of FIFA having a blanket ban on what it considers political messages, as is the reputation of Qatar who has been criticised for its treatment or workers.

Homosexuality is also illegal in Qatar and the country’s tournament organisers have warned visitors against public displays of affection.

Despite this they claim that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome at the event.

But as the European nations weight their legal options, it is clear that the country doesn’t welcome people of all persuasions, nor does it tolerate freedom of speech.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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