fFrance captain Hugo Lloris had scarcely announced he would not wear an anti-discrimination armband at the World Cup in Qatar when the goalkeeper of the defending champions received political tailwinds from the highest levels. “I don’t think we should politicize sport,” French President Emmanuel Macron told journalists in Bangkok. The head of state did not want to comment on the human rights situation in the emirate on the Persian Gulf or on the treatment of foreign workers: “These questions should have been asked when the World Cup was awarded.”
Twelve years after the contract for the small desert state, the captains of eight European World Cup participants had actually agreed to at least set a sign for human rights with a special captain’s armband. But even this is Lloris, who became world champion in Russia in 2018 with “Les Bleus”, suddenly too provocative. “When we welcome foreign visitors to France, we often want them to respect our rules and our culture. I will do the same in Qatar,” said the 35-year-old in an interview with the French news agency AFP.
Manuel Neuer disagrees
His goalkeeper colleague and DFB captain Manuel Neuer takes a completely different view: “The love of football unites us all. No matter where we come from, what we look like and who we love. Football is for everyone. And football has to be there for everyone who feels discriminated against and excluded, all over the world.” The armband with the brightly colored heart and the inscription “One Love” is already a compromise when it comes to wearing an armband in rainbow colors not to further inflame the situation in Qatar.
World governing body FIFA has already reacted and banned the Danish team from continuing to wear the slogan “Human rights for all” on their training clothes. It was pointed out that political messages were not permitted. So the crucial question is: is “One Love” a political message or not?
But even if there were a FIFA place, for Thomas Hitzlsperger this self-made creation is too weak a symbol: “With the rainbow, you know what it means. But now you come out with a bandage that means a lot but says nothing,” said the openly homosexual former national player on SWR. Bernd Neuendorf, President of the German Football Association (DFB), however, defended the “One Love” bandage: “It is a sign of diversity, openness and tolerance – not only for LGBTQ, but for women’s rights, freedom of expression and workers’ rights,” said he on ZDF.
France’s retreat is probably also due to economic interests. There are close ties between Qatar and the French energy group Total. According to estimates, the Gulf state has assets of more than 25 billion euros in France. The daily newspaper “Le Monde” also reported that people on the Arabian Peninsula were anything but happy with the appreciation of the World Cup finals in France. Background: No official public viewing events are planned in several major cities such as Paris, Bordeaux and Strasbourg.