Updated: May 20, 2019
In June 2017 and June 2018, the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) required players to wear an LGBT “pride” rainbow on their national team jerseys. The Football Association of the Republic of Ireland (FAI) did likewise in June 2018.
In 2017, the Football Association (FA) of England required players to wear LGBT rainbow laces in an international game.
The Danish Football Association (Dansk Boldspil-Union), German Football Association (Deutscher Fussball-Bund), the FA of England,
Football Association of Norway (Norges Fotballforbund), and Swedish Football Association (Svenska Fotbollsförbundet) have required team captains to wear LGBT rainbow captains’ armbands.
The Danish Football Association used LGBT rainbow corner flags in an international match.
(Click to see a list of the dates and locations of international matches 2016-2018 in which teams have used the LGBT rainbow on the kit and on field equipment.)
The FIFA “Good Practice Guide on Diversity and Anti-Discrimination” explains the need to avoid giving one group special status at the expense of others: “Equality in diversity means that nobody puts his or her own personal freedom above that of anyone else’s. Diversity blooms when nobody uses his or her own freedom to repress or exclude anybody else.” Elevating support for LGBT causes to a privileged status in soccer is discriminatory and exclusionary toward those who disagree with these causes.
This is unfair.
Moreover, the controversial LGBT rainbow symbol distracts from the game of soccer by fostering tension and division inside teams and among spectators. This makes the game unwelcoming to those in the world who disagree with the political causes this symbol represents.
Inside the vast world of soccer there are many people with many different perspectives. As “FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future” observes, “Truly the world’s game, football permeates the global population and motivates the passions of countless cultures and belief systems.”
It is the responsibility of FIFA and IFAB to protect soccer from efforts to exclude cultures and belief systems from the beautiful game.
This blog post is the Background (page 2) of the full 2019 report Let All Play: Yes to Soccer, No to Politics. CLICK to read.