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The One Love armband Imago/PA Images
World Cup

Coveney criticises Fifa's 'extraordinary' decision on One Love armbands

Under Fifa’s rules, players wearing kit that is not authorised by the governing body could be shown a yellow card.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Simon Coveney has hit out at Fifa for its “absolutely extraordinary” decision not to allow players to wear armbands in support of LGBTQ+ people during the World Cup.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Coveney criticised the footballing body over the decision to pressure individual football associations against wearing the armband, saying that it is worthy of “significant mention and criticism”.

Earlier this week, England, Wales, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland all abandoned plans to wear One Love armbands following threats of disciplinary action by Fifa.

Under Fifa’s rules, players wearing kit that is not authorised by the governing body could be shown a yellow card.

“It is absolutely extraordinary that FIFA has effectively chosen to lean on national football associations in different countries to prevent players wearing an armband to support LGBT+ rights,” Coveney said.

“That is a political intervention by FIFA to limit freedom of expression, which is worthy of significant mention and criticism.”

Coveney made the comments in response to questioning by Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchu and Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin.

While Coveney criticised Fifa, he said that it would be unfair to criticise players.

“With regard to the links between sport and politics on this issue, in some ways, it is unfair to criticise players. They are sports people rather than politicians,” Coveney said.

“Of course if they wish to make a political statement, they should be allowed to do so as should anybody else.”

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