FIFA has ‘BULLIED’ England team into submission says Peter Tatchell
The campaigner accused FIFA of colluding with a ‘sexist, homophobic and racist dictatorship’
Peter Tatchell has condemned FIFA for bullying England’s players and accused it of colluding with a “sexist, homophobic and racist dictatorship”.
It was feared Three Lions skipper Harry Kane and Gareth Bale, of Wales, could be booked for wearing the rainbow-coloured One Love armband, because it is not a Fifa-approved piece of kit.
Fifa has issued its own armbands to be worn by the 32 competing nations instead.
Tatchell said: “FIFA promised an inclusive world cup without discrimination. Yet when the team has wanted to wear a small symbol to show their opposition to discrimination, basically, FIFA has bullied them into submission.
“It’s strong arm tactics. It's really disgraceful. Instead of players being threatened with yellow cards, FIFA and Qatar should get the red card.”
Speaking to Mark Longhurst on GB News, he continued: “The issue has become so big, precisely because of the missteps by Qatar and FIFA. They are making discrimination, human rights and so on - they're making it the issue of the World Cup, which it wouldn't have been if they hadn't kicked up a fuss and hadn't imposed these bullying tactics.
“I think most people, whatever they think about these issues, will find it quite extraordinary that FIFA is prepared to bully players into submission with these draconian threats. It really has no place in football.
“This kind of bullying is precisely what football is supposed to oppose, you know, that the Football World Cup officials have long spoken out against discrimination and bullying. Yet here they are using the same tactics themselves, it’s complete hypocrisy.”
Mr Tatchell said: “The protesters, groups they are standing on the side of human rights, which FIFA itself says it upholds. In FIFA’s own statutes, it talks about human rights. Yet when it comes to expressing support for human rights, FIFA is trying to dampen and suppress any expression.
“It really is so wrong. When you think about what's happening in Iran right now. In Iran, 15,000 people have been arrested and jailed many face the prospect of the death penalty, execution, for peacefully protesting in the streets, or writing, or holding a sign opposing the dictatorship.
“Of course, people should speak out. And I do hope that Harry Kane will, in his post match press conference, make a short brief statement, expressing his support and solidarity with the Iranian democracy protesters. That would be a very honourable thing to do.”
He added: “I think going to Qatar for any fan is risky, because Qatar and FIFA have given certain assurances but they've repeatedly broken them, so how can we trust them when they say that LGBT+ fans will be safe?
“They promised that there'd be beer at the stadiums. That's been kiboshed. They promised a media friendly games. But recently a Danish TV crew was harassed and even had threats to have their cameras smashed by Qatari officials.
“We just cannot trust FIFA, or Qatar and I think it's best to stay away not just for personal safety, but also don't go because going there is colluding with a basically sexist, homophobic and racist dictatorship.”
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