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21 Nov 2022

Qatar 2022: European FAs "u-turn" on OneLove campaign for equality & rights in Qatar, on tournament's second day

The Dutch FA, KNVB, launched an anti-discrimination campaign called OneLove in 2020 for the Euro Cup, and now ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup it is being supported by a number of European football associations, including the English FA and last World Cup winners France. The initiative, which will feature rainbow coloured armbands during World Cup matches, is still pending approval by FIFA.

Human rights NGOs, Human Rights Watch, FairSquare and Amnesty International have welcomed a statement from the English FA on the initiative but questioned its delayed timing and translation into concrete asks to FIFA.

On the second day of the tournament, ahead of the England v. Iran match, a joint statement from seven football associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland stated that they would not put players in positions where they could face sanctions and withdrew from the initiative. FIFA has instead brought forward its No Discrimination campaign from the planned quarterfinal launch which allows captains to wear an armband throughout the tournament.

The English Football Association's statement is welcome despite the severe delay...The statement notes that they needed the time to work out what role they needed to play, but we and many others have been calling on them for much longer to step up their support for migrant workers.
Rothna Begum, HRW spokesperson
Coloured armbands are no substitute for clear demands for Fifa. While the English FA's support in principle for key issues is welcome, it falls well short on the detail and specificity that those affected by the World Cup need from participating nations.
The FA’s pledge to support efforts to remedy abuses suffered by thousands of overseas workers in Qatar - including with a Migrant Workers’ Centre - could be significant, but we still need to see whether this is seriously taken up either by the Qatari authorities or by Fifa.
Felix Jakens, Amnesty International