7 months after the homophobic-related World Cup in Qatar, in which FIFA banned national team captains from taking the field wearing rainbow armbands, the Women’s World Cup, this year hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will be held from 20 July to 20 August.
FIFA announced last March that nothing had been said about OneLove anti-discrimination headbands in the Women’s World Cup and that the organisation was addressing the issue.
James Johnson, chief executive of Football Australia, said the World Cup players could wear the bands to accommodate a variety of issues, including LGBTQIA+ rights.
According to current FIFA rules, football teams must not be a poster child for specific slogans, statements, political, religious or personal images. The captain must wear the appropriate sash indicating her role, which will be provided directly by FIFA.
However, during the World Cup in Qatar before the OneLove initiative came into being after 9 national teams joined, FIFA harshly attacked the respective captains – at risk of a card – if they ‘dared’ take to the pitch wearing the rainbow armband. For overall context: it is illegal to be homosexual in Qatar and LGBTQIA+ people regularly suffer harassment and abuse.
Johnson, in this regard, added:
“One of the key lessons for us from the World Cup in Qatar was seeing how players wanted to use that platform to push issues that were important to them. It came out strongly. And in the case of Qatar, the competition rules were at odds with the players’ desire. So we are aware of that.”
Amongst the 32 national teams admitted to the 2023 Women’s World Cup is Italy, placed in Group G with Sweden, Argentina and South Africa.
Could the recent coming out of Czech Republic footballer Jakub Jankto be a good start to a more inclusive football sector that is open to diversity? If so, it would finally make real sense in terms of sportspersonship.
Giorgio Galluzzo, Business Development Executive