Denmark studies leaving FIFA after the controversy over the One Love bracelet

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Denmark drew 0-0 against Tunisia in their World Cup debut corresponding to group D (AP)
Denmark drew 0-0 against Tunisia in their World Cup debut corresponding to group D (AP)

Denmark is one of the European teams on the warpath. He signed a joint statement with the federations of Belgium, Switzerland, Wales, England, the Netherlands and Germany under the umbrella of the “UEFA Human Rights Working Group for the 2022 FIFA World Cup”. The tone is confrontational and obeys the ban on wearing the One Love campaign captain’s armband: “We are very frustrated by FIFA’s decision, which we believe is unprecedented.” The dispute escalated again with the statements of the president of the Danish football federation, Jesper Møller, and a controversial insinuation: the desire to leave FIFA.

“It is not a decision that has been made now. We have been clear for a long time. We have been discussing it in the Nordic region since August,” said the Scandinavian top manager. The situation weaves a scenario of progressive tension between the European powers and the leadership of the governing body of global football. Møller revealed: “We’ve rethought it now. I imagine there may be challenges if Denmark goes off on its own. We have to think about the question of how to restore trust in fifa. We must assess what has happened and then we must create a strategy, also with our Nordic colleagues.”

The controversy precedes the controversy over the bracelet. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar intensified the dispute. Denmark had already made public its dissatisfaction with the inclusion and human rights policies of the host country and, moreover, with the complicity of FIFA. The first obeys his kit. The announcement of his new clothing showed a position: “With the new jerseys of the Danish team we wanted to send a double message. Not only are they inspired by Euro 92, paying homage to Denmark’s greatest football success, but they it is also a protest against Qatar and his record in relation to human rights,” said the brand Hummel through social networks in September of the current year.

Second from the left is president of the Danish football federation, Jesper Møller.  On Wednesday he gave a press conference (REUTERS / Philip O'Connor)
Second from the left is president of the Danish football federation, Jesper Møller. On Wednesday he gave a press conference (REUTERS / Philip O’Connor)

“For this reason we have toned down all the details of Denmark’s new World Cup jerseys, including our logo and the iconic ‘chevrons’ – the vee-shaped chevrons characteristic of the firm’s designs. We don’t want to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives,” the company said, adding: “We support the Danish national team until the end, but that is not the same as supporting Qatar as the host country. We believe sport should bring people together and when it doesn’t we want to make a statement.”.

He wore an all-red shirt in his debut against Tunisia (the first 0-0 in the World Cup). He has an alternative with a full white hue. And the third is black for something: “The color of mourning. The perfect color for Denmark’s third jersey for this year’s World Cup. We want to make a statement about Qatar’s human rights record and its treatment of immigrant workers who have built the World Cup stadiums,” concluded the message from the sports brand.

The second message raised by Denmark was a detail worn by former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in the duel against Tunisia: she wore a rainbow bracelet to protest Qatar’s stance on LGBTQ rights.

The controversy has as its horizon March 16, 2023, the date on which Gianni Infantino’s first term at the helm of FIFA ends. The Italian will run unopposed for a third presidency as head of world soccer’s governing body. At the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, his management will be renewed. “There are presidential elections in FIFA,” said Jesper Møller. There are 211 countries in FIFA and I understand that the current president has statements of support from 207 countries. Denmark is not among those countries. And we will not be”.

Christian Eriksen's captain's armband reads "No discrimination".  It is the same one used by the German and English teams (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Christian Eriksen’s captain’s armband reads “No discrimination”. It is the same one used by the German and English teams (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

“This situation is quite extraordinary. I’m not just disappointed, I’m angry.. That players have to expose themselves to this is completely unacceptable. We have to respond to it,” Møller said at Wednesday’s press conference. After the statements were virulently replicated in the European media, the head of communication for the Belgian federation, Jakob Hoejer, tried to soften the tone of the president’s assessments: “Some media have wrongly implied that the DBU will withdraw of FIFA. That was not said at the press conference. We are critical and we are not satisfied and we will not vote for the current FIFA president. We will discuss other actions with our Nordic and European colleagues,” he said, according to the agency. Reuters.

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Denmark will not be the only European country that will not support Infantino’s re-election. Germany has already made public that it will not support it either. The president of the German Football Association, Bernd Neuendorf, said he hoped that Infantino would show “greater regard for human rights and a greater commitment to humanitarian issues.”

And yesterday, the Belgian soccer federation issued an equally suggestive statement. It came from a new FIFA veto: the prohibition to wear a word written in many colors in the neck area of ​​the back of the Belgian second kit. Where it says “Love”, “love” in English, there should be nothing. “The design of the shirt was made inspired by the famous Tomorrowland fireworks and represents the common values ​​of diversity, equality and inclusion,” they announced in their presentation. This decision, fueled by the controversy of the One Love bracelet, inspired a response from the Belgian authorities: “The KBVB, together with the other countries involved, will critically examine its relationship with FIFA in the next period”.

The dispute of seven teams affiliated with UEFA with FIFA promises more chapters.

Keep reading:

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