Some captains will take the field with a rainbow armband, despite the possibility of a fine. Bellingham, president of the English federation: “We had asked for authorization from FIFA, he never replied”

    One Love on one side, Qatar on the other. Kane and Neuer versus Khalid Salman, the promotion of inclusiveness colliding with the criminalization of homosexuality. One of the most controversial World Cups ever begins: the stage chosen by Fifa is ideologically very far from the West and the exploit of a cultural conflict during the competition was more predictable than ever.

    One love

    The thousands of workers who died during the construction of Qatari stadiums is just one of the many shadows surrounding the World Cup. The ban on consuming alcohol in stadiums has also made noise, but the more delicate issue obviously concerns the protection of human rights. In short: same-sex couples in Qatar are considered illegal. Khakid Salman, former footballer and World Cup ambassador, didn’t mince words: “Being gay means having a mental disorder, it’s not right for children to see certain people in the stands”. One Love Foundation aims to fight certain stereotypes and has made the balloon its megaphone to reach everyone’s ears. Most of the national teams that have lined up in support of the foundation, in fact, have qualified for the World Cup in Qatar. Some captains will wear a rainbow armband, a symbol of open-mindedness that should be taken for granted these days.

    “Illegal Band”

    According to Fifa rules, however, during the tournament it would not be possible to exhibit “personalized” accessories: the leaders of the teams should have standardized armbands and, otherwise, could be subject to the payment of a fine. In this regard, Mark Bellingham, president of the English federation expressed himself, who said he was ready to assume his responsibilities: “Harry Kane, our captain, will take the field with the rainbow armband. Some time ago we asked Fifa for an authorization special to wear it, but we have not received a response”. Patience. The Tottenham center forward has the FA on his side, the lack of the green light from Fifa then takes a back seat.

    France… neutral

    Like Kane, Neuer also did not send them to say. On the contrary: the Germany goalkeeper would gladly pay the fine out of his own pocket. “As long as the leaders of German football are by my side, I will have no fear of exposing myself.” Everyone agree? Not exactly. Lloris, Kane’s Tottenham team-mate and France captain, pulled out, despite the defending champions originally espousing One Love’s project. “Without Fifa’s approval, we can’t expose ourselves. I have my own idea about it, but it’s not a matter of sharing the thoughts of Qataris or not. In France, when we welcome a foreigner, we expect him to respect our rules and our culture. And I, when I go abroad, behave the same way”. The challenges on the ground have yet to begin. Those outside, however, have already started a long time ago…

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