Two major sports organisations, including FIFA, the regulatory body for soccer worldwide, are being criticized for allowing teams to mandate the promotion of LGBT+ themes in violation of their own rules.
The non-profit Let All Play points out the rules that FIFA and the International Football Association Board, IFAB, are violating when they display the LGBT+ rainbow as a “political view” that should not be placed in the fields.
“The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender LGBT+ rainbow does not belong on the kit or the field in soccer”, the organisation says on its website.
“In international soccer matches, the United States and the Republic of Ireland have required players to wear an LGBT+ rainbow on their jerseys. England required players to wear LGBT+ rainbow laces on their cleats. Some teams have required captains to wear an LGBT+ rainbow captain’s armband”, they continued.
We have seen during the last few years, many different actions that are inclusive to the LGBT+ community in sports, from football to rugby. The response has been great, we have never seen the discussion of sexuality and sport been so talked about prior to the support received.
The Premier League in the UK used Rainbow Laces’ Campaign to support LGBT+ inclusion in sports.
This is everyone's game
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 1, 2018
Welsh National team wore rainbow laces in support of Gareth Thomas, who is an openly gay rugby star, and suffered a homophobic attack last year.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) November 22, 2018
But that’s a problem, according to the report.
“The LGBT+ rainbow is a political symbol. The Laws of the Game from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) state, ‘Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images’ (Law 04.5). FIFA’s Equipment Regulations add that this includes a ban on any ‘political or comparable symbol.’
“FIFA needs to enforce its own rules,” the group says.
That’s because not everyone “agrees with the causes represented by the LGBT+ rainbow.”
“Players who have declined to wear the LGBT+ rainbow in international and league play have been harassed and now risk being disadvantaged in their careers.”
The report said teams that place political symbols on equipment need to be disciplined and that they “have a responsibility to assure players are judged by their skills.”
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