A US organisation has called on football’s governing body to ban the LGBT flag being emblazoned on kits, boots, armbands and corner flags.
The report “Yes to Soccer, No to Politics” by campaign group Let All Play, tells FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to enforce its own rules on political statements consistently.
FIFA previously came under fire when it banned the wearing of a poppy in international matches, branding it political. It has never enforced a ban on the LGBT flag.
The IFAB states that, “Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images”, while FIFA’s Equipment Regulations also bans any “political or comparable symbol” on kits and any other equipment.
Let All Play says: “The LGBT rainbow is a political symbol”, adding: “FIFA needs to enforce its own rules.”
“Not everyone agrees with the causes represented by the LGBT rainbow. Players who have declined to wear the LGBT rainbow in international and league play have been harassed and now risk being disadvantaged in their careers.”
Branding the practice as compelled speech, the group said players should not have to face “a choice between wearing a message that violates their conscience versus being able to play”.
It continues: “No one should be required to wear a political symbol with which they disagree.
“Those who disagree with the politics represented by the LGBT rainbow include some religious believers as well as those who oppose the threat that transgenderism poses to soccer for girls and women.
“These individuals and others should not be excluded from soccer just because they hold opinions that are at odds with LGBT advocates and vice versa.”
Freedom of conscience
In its report, Let All Play called on FIFA to discipline teams that place political symbols, such as the LGBT flag, “on any part of the kit, protective equipment, or captain’s armband”.
It added that The IFAB needed to revise “the Laws of the Game to exclude political symbols on corner flags, all other field and technical area equipment, and on the field and its immediate surroundings”.