Football association chief ‘disappointed’ over FIFA armband decision

Granit Xhaka (right) captain of Switzerland, in action against Cameroon on Thursday 24 November, wearing an alternative armband Keystone / Rolex Dela Pena

Swiss Football Association President Dominique Blanc has told the Swiss media that he was disappointed about world football governing body FIFA’s decision to ban the “OneLove” armband at the World Cup in Qatar.

This content was published on November 26, 2022 - 13:10

Zurich-based FIFA announced the decision last Monday – shortly before the England versus Iran match – and threated to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the multi-coloured armband, which promotes a message of diversity and inclusion. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

An alternative armband has been offered instead, which is more acceptable to the Gulf nation.

Switzerland was one of ten European countries, eight of them appearing at the World Cup, which had signed up to the OneLove armband. It was then decided that Swiss captain Granit Xhaka would not wear the armband during Switzerland’s first match against Cameroon on Thursday, but wear the alternative armband instead. But the country made its displeasure at the ban clear in a joint statement with other affected nationsExternal link.


In his first official comments to Tamedia newspapersExternal link in Switzerland on Saturday, Blanc said that he was "disappointed" and "sad" over FIFA's decision. But he said the move had come so last minute that national football associations hardly had time to react.

“We also received the clear message that the captains would be warned if we did not comply with the regulations. It was clear to us then: We have been committed to human rights for many months, but we do not want to jeopardise our sporting performance,” Blanc said.

Blanc said that football associations had come to a point where they wanted to protect players and teams from “further unrest”.

When pressed on the issue, Blanc added that it would be a completely wrong interpretation to assume from the associations’ decision that human rights were worth less than a yellow card.

"We have clearly shown how important values such as human rights are to us with our strong commitment in the past two years," the SFA president said.

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