The tape 'One Love': protagonist of one of the great controversies of the World Cup.  Photo: AFP

The Qatar World Cup 2022 It started with pure surprise: because of the bulky results, the leading role of VAR and the unexpected victories, but also because of what happens off the pitch. When the Cup was announced in Qatari lands, it was immediately known that this edition would become one of the most controversial. And one of the last had to do with FIFA’s ban on wearing bracelets in support of the LGBTIQ+ community, persecuted in that country.

Months ago, the Federations of the UEFA countries classified for the World Cup held a meeting in which they sought a way to express themselves in favor of the protection of human rights in Qatar.

Finally, they decided that the most appropriate thing was for the captain of each team to wear a bracelet with the inscription ‘One Love’, accompanied by a multicolored heart that would emulate the LGBT flag. FIFA, far from ruling against it, did not even respond to the request.

The tape ‘One Love’: protagonist of one of the great controversies of the World Cup. Photo: AFP

And finally the World Cup arrived, and hand in hand with the beginning of the maximum event, the controversies also appeared. On the last breath, the FIFA was issued regarding the use of the bracelet, making it clear that its use would be strictly prohibited.

Manuel Neuer He warned that he would not give in to pressure, and stated that he would challenge the highest regulatory body. The captain of Germany is a recognized activist for human rights, and facing this World Cup, the position of the German Federation was not negotiable. In the run-up to the match with Japan, it was even considered that the Bayern Munich number 1 would wear the ‘One Love’ bracelet, facing the financial and sporting sanctions that would entail.

The goalkeeper himself made his position clear at a press conference: “Personally, I would be willing to pay a fine. This is not a political statement, but one in favor of human rights.” The problem is that beyond the fine, Neuer could be exposed to a yellow card.

Stefan Simon, spokesman for the German Federation, confirmed the opening of legal actions against FIFA, and in dialogue with the newspaper Blind acknowledged: “We want to clarify if your procedure is really legitimate”.

Many Federations let UEFA's hand go, but Manuel Neuer and Germany maintain their position.  Photo: EFE

Many Federations let UEFA’s hand go, but Manuel Neuer and Germany maintain their position. Photo: EFE

DFB President Bernd Neuendorf took it upon himself to endorse the position, saying: “FIFA works with intimidation and pressure. It’s incredibly difficult to tell players we’ll accept the penalties when we don’t even know what they are. We oppose FIFA. We have to consider what conclusions we draw from this intolerable situation during a tournament. We do not receive any specific information from FIFA, that is part of their agenda.”

This Wednesday, Germany took the field and all eyes fell on Neuer, who finally did not wear the controversial bracelet, although at a certain point in the game he exchanged a few words with one of the referees who seemed to point out that part of his clothing.

Of course, the Teutonic group posed for the photos with a gesture that seems to be a clear message in the face of all the controversy that arose around the subject. Their mouths were covered. Then the ball rolled, and there was another story.


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