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Gianni Infantino defends Fifa stance on ‘OneLove’ armband

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Gianni Infantino has defended FIFA’s stance on the ‘OneLove’ World Cup bracelet by suggesting that football matches should be a time for everyone to “forget their problems” rather than create more.

Seven European nations competing in the tournament, including England and Wales, planned to wear anti-discrimination armbands during matches, but were dissuaded from doing so following the threat of sporting sanctions from FIFA.

England captain Harry Kane was due to wear the armband only for the decision to be made, hours before kick-off for the opening match against Iran, that he should no longer do so.

It is understood that the penalties could have been harsher than Kane, and other skippers simply received a yellow card for wearing the kit and therefore it was felt that such incidents should be avoided.

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Instead, FIFA introduced its own bracelet campaign that was originally scheduled to start in the later stages of the tournament, with FIFA President Infantino calling for the sporting regulations to be adhered to.

“It is not about prohibiting or not prohibiting. It is about respecting the regulations, we have regulations that say on the pitch, football is played and we did that, ”he said.

“Everyone is free to express their views, their opinion, their beliefs, the way they believe, as long as they do so in a respectful way.

“When it comes to the pitch, the field of play, you have to respect football, you have to respect the field of play and these regulations are there for exactly this reason.

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“This is nothing new, they are there for this reason to respect and protect the 211 football teams (under the FIFA banner), not the 211 heads of state, regimes or whatever.”



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When it comes to the field, the pitch, you have to respect football, you have to respect the pitch and these regulations are there for exactly this reason.

gianni infantino

There have been incidents where supporters have been told they can’t enter World Cup stadiums while wearing rainbow gear, despite FIFA insisting that shouldn’t be the case.

The death of migrant workers, a poor human rights record and the treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar have drawn attention since the Gulf state first hosted the World Cup in 2010.

Following the decision not to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband, Germany’s players covered their mouths before their first match at the World Cup.

Infantino said: “There are 211 football teams and their fans who want to come and enjoy football and that is why we are here and, honestly, I believe that we are defending values, we are defending human rights, we are defending the rights of everyone at FIFA, in the World Cup.

“But I also think that those fans that come to the stadium, those 80,000, 70,000, 90,000, and all those billions of fans that watch the World Cup on TV, maybe we should think about that and I say that frankly to everyone. . , everyone has their own problems.

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“They just want to spend 90 minutes or now 100 minutes or 105 minutes or whatever without having to think about anything other than enjoying a little moment of pleasure and joy or at least excitement.

“That is what we have to do. We have to give all these people a moment in their lives where they can forget about their own problems and enjoy football.

“Between and after competitions, during competitions outside of the match on the field of play, well, everyone can express their views and opinions in the way they want. But let’s give this moment of joy to those who want to enjoy the game.”

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