DOHA, Qatar (AP) — FIFA has denied Belgium’s request to wear national team jerseys labeled “Love” at the World Cup in Qatar because of a business link to a rave festival.
The multicolor detail on the white jersey was described as a “symbol of mutual values on diversity, equality and inclusion” at the September launch. by Belgium’s signature electronic music event Tomorrowland.
But FIFA rules on team kits and equipment forced Belgium to change their World Cup plans from their first alternative jersey to the traditional red.
“We had to omit it for commercial reasons because of the reference to Tomorrowland,” the Belgian soccer federation said on Monday.
FIFA declined to comment on its ruling regarding the second-choice jersey, which was made several weeks ago.
The decision came Monday after FIFA exercised its power to crack down on Belgium and six other European teams. for wanting their captains to wear the “One Love” armband with a multicolored heart-shaped logo in Qatar. The teams backed down when FIFA threatened instant yellow cards for every captain.
The armband, which breaches FIFA equipment rules, was to support a Dutch anti-discrimination campaign that drew attention to the host nation’s human rights record.
The “One Love” campaign highlighted little-known FIFA rules that Belgium also violated.
The 32 World Cup teams had to seek FIFA approval for the designs and colors of three contrasting team kits months before the tournament. FIFA has now approved Belgium’s white jersey with the same colored trim but with the “Love” label covered inside the neck.
“In principle we could play in it (in the World Cup),” the Belgian soccer federation said, “but in the meantime we opted to play in red for the group stage matches.”
Belgium begins their Group F show against Canada on Wednesday. The 2018 World Cup semifinalists will then play Morocco and Croatia, the losing finalist from four years ago.
In a similar case imposed by the European soccer body UEFA last year, Ajax were denied permission to include a “Three Little Birds” motif. in a jersey inspired by reggae music icon Bob Marley for Champions League matches.
Ajax could wear the black jersey with gold, red and green trim to honor their fans’ anthem, but UEFA ruled that the motif had to be removed from the back of the jersey.
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