World Cup 2022 – One Love armband ban: “I’m ashamed, FIFA is pathetic”

Yoann, how did you react FIFA’s decision to ban the One Love armband, a symbol of diversity and inclusion ?

YL: I didn’t believe it. And when the information was confirmed to me, right away, I said to myself: “They are completely crazy.” In addition, I remind you and this is not a detail, that this armband was already a watered down version which did not quite respect the codes of the LGBTQIA+ flag. It was an all-purpose armband built precisely not to offend sensibilities. But there, banning this armband is taking people for idiots. FIFA is sending a terrible signal. Parents already struggle to get their kids into football for a whole host of reasons, FIFA just gave them an extra one.

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The One Love armband worn by the Netherlands

Credit: Getty Images

You have been fighting homophobia in football for several years. What message is FIFA sending with this ban?

YL: I have been an activist for more than 20 years but I have always been a moderate. I never want to give a lesson. But that the governing body of world football shows such contempt for the gay cause, it drives me crazy. I don’t know if FIFA realizes how destructive this is for the amateur world. She gives reason to the haters who have made the rejection of the other a goodwill. Implicitly, FIFA tells us: “There are people on the side but who cares.”

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It is first and foremost a question of pedagogy

Will this decision weaken your fight?

YL: Beyond gay kids or girls who can’t live their sexuality freely in their club, it’s first and foremost a question of education. We are talking about a social issue. We could hope that football would pass on this message to fight against the persecution of minorities. I hoped but I was stupid because nothing can be expected from this FIFA which has no humanist convictions. Frankly today, I am ashamed. This institution sucks.

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