Denmark’s pro-human rights shirts rejected by Fifa
Denmark’s request for its players to be permitted to wear pro-human rights training shirts at the World Cup in Qatar has been rejected by Fifa.
The Danish football federation (DBU) asked if its players could wear shirts with the words “Human Rights for All”.
World football’s governing body prohibits all political messages and has asked teams to “focus on football” following a controversial build-up.
The DBU disputes that it is a political message but accepted the decision.
“For me, this is a jersey with a very simple message about universal human rights,” DBU director Jakob Jensen told Danish agency Ritzau.
Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights record and treatment of migrant workers in the lead up to the tournament, which begins on 20 November.
Denmark will wear “toned down” shirts for the World Cup to protest against hosts Qatar, with kit provider Hummel designing a third, all-black kit, to represent the “colour of mourning”.
Fifa regulations state that any team equipment, including clothing, must not show any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.
Jensen said: “It is Fifa’s right as organiser of this tournament to say that we can’t do it. Fifa of course does this to prevent all sorts of weird stuff. We don’t think it was that strange.”
He added: “We don’t think there’s any politics in it. We think that the human rights are universal, and we stand by this view.
“Fifa had a different assessment and sadly we had to take that into consideration.”
Fifa wrote to the 32 World Cup teams urging that football should not be “dragged” into ideological or political “battles”.
That letter has been criticised by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and LGBTQ+ campaigners in England and Wales, while 10 European football associations – including those of England and Wales – said “human rights are universal and apply everywhere” in response.
England manager Gareth Southgate said on Thursday it is “optimistic” of Fifa to expect nations to concentrate solely on football matters in Qatar.
The Three Lions’ Harry Kane and the captains of nine other European teams will wear ‘One Love’ armbands as a message against discrimination.
Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said it was a “mistake” to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.