FIFA forbids Danish World Cup squad to train in pro-human rights shirts, soccer world in uproar

FIFA have rejected a bid by Denmark’s World Cup squad to wear pro-human rights shirts in training, the Danish football federation (DBU) said Thursday.

World football’s governing body dismissed the Danish request to be allowed wear jerseys bearing the message “Human Rights for All”, a spokesman for the DBU told AFP.

The DBU disputes that it is a political message but will comply with the FIFA decision to avoid fines and sanctions, they said.

Qatar has faced criticism for its human rights record on the treatment of foreign workers on major infrastructure projects for the World Cup and on women’s and LGBTQ rights.

Long hostile to the organisation of the World Cup in Qatar, the Danish federation had wanted to be at the forefront of the defence of human rights during the tournament, which kicks off on November 20.

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“We have sent a request to FIFA, but the response is negative. We regret that, but we have to take it into account,” DBU director Jakob Jensen told Danish agency Ritzau.

The federation had previously announced that training shirts would display “critical messages”, with two sponsors — national lottery Danske Spil and bank Arbejdernes Landsbank — agreeing to have their logos replaced.

“For me, this is a jersey with a very simple message about universal human rights,” Jensen added.

FIFA, which prohibits all political messages, last week urged teams to “focus on football” and not to drag it “into every ideological or political battle”.

The governing body’s decision to reject Denmark’s human rights message went down like a lead balloon across the football world, with many angry fans and experts taking to social media to share their disapproval over the “pathetic” decision.

On the official jerseys of the Scandinavian country during the competition, its equipment supplier Hummel also dimmed its logos in a sign of “protest” against the Qatari authorities.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state and captains from a number of leading European countries, including England, France and Germany, will wear armbands in rainbow colours with the message “One Love” in an anti-discrimination campaign.

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