Josh Cavallo has slammed FIFA after it threatened teams with sanctions for wearing the OneLove armband.
On 20 November, the Qatar World Cup officially commenced, with the first match taking place between the gulf region’s team and Ecuador.
In the months leading up to the tournament, captains from England, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany football teams announced that they would be wearing the armband to support the LGBTQ+ community.
In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by penalties including flogging, imprisonment and even execution.
However on 21 November, the teams announced that they would no longer be wearing the inclusive band in a joint statement.
“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the teams revealed.
“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”
While the teams were willing to “pay fines”, they ultimately decided to opt out of the LGBTQ+ inclusive gesture because of the potential of players “being booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”
Following their announcement, LGBTQ+ fans and activists have slammed FIFA for their threats, including openly gay footballer Cavallo.
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“I love my identity. Seeing you have banned all teams to wear the One Love armband to actively support LGBTQ+ at the World cup. You have lost my respect,” he wrote on Instagram.
“All the work my fellow allies and the LGBTQ+ community are doing to make football inclusive, you have shown that football isn’t a place for everyone.”
In an additional statement on Twitter, Cavallo doubled down on his feelings, writing: “It’s not the first time we’ve heard ‘Stick to football.’ The attacks on the LGBTQ+ community from World Cup leaders affects so many who live in silence because of your draconian ways.
“To be a great leader in sport, one must never give up trying to bring ALL people together.”
Cavallo isn’t the only openly LGBTQ+ football player to comment on FIFA’s OneLove ban.
Zander Murray, who recently made history as the first openly gay Scottish senior footballer, has also slammed the sporting organisation for their anti-LGBTQ+ decision.
“The armband… that’s meant to represent inclusivity in our sport and the fight against discrimination of all kinds in our sport,” he explained Good Morning Britain. “Personally, I feel like it’s a direct attack on us as a community.”
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to continue until 18 December.
Not speaking out goes against everything I stand for and why I went public. Thanks for having me on 🏳️🌈 ❤️ ⚽️ https://t.co/LggbD1Cn6D
— Zander Murray (@ZanderMurray) November 22, 2022