The head of the American diplomacy on Tuesday criticized FIFA’s decision to threaten World Cup players with yellow cards if they wear armbands supporting inclusion and diversity.
Speaking alongside his Qatari counterpart, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was “always concerning … when we see restrictions on free speech”.
“This is especially the case when the phrase is for diversity and for inclusion,” Blinken said in Doha.
“And in my opinion, no one on a football pitch should have to choose between supporting those values and playing for their team.”
FIFA could not immediately be reached for comment.
Just hours before the first players with the armbands in support of the ‘One Love’ campaign would take to the pitch on Monday, football’s governing body warned they would immediately be shown yellow cards – including two lead to the expulsion of a player from this game and also the next one.
Blinken arrived in Qatar on Monday, where he visited a youth football program linked to the World Cup. He then watched the United States’ encounter with Wales on Monday night.
Blinken spoke alongside Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the press conference.
Blinken’s visit is part of a strategic dialogue with Qatar, which also hosts some 8,000 U.S. troops at its massive Al-Udeid air base, which serves as the forward headquarters of NATO’s central command. US army. The base was a key node in America’s chaotic 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of Afghan civilians.
One of the main topics to be discussed is Iran. Non-proliferation experts say Iran now has enough uranium enriched up to 60% – steps away from weapons-grade levels – to reprocess it into fuel for a nuclear weapon if it chooses to do so. TO DO.
Tehran insists its program is peaceful, although it has expanded it considerably since the collapse of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Meanwhile, Iran is rocked by months-long protests following the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman who was previously arrested by the country’s vice squad.
The authorities’ crackdown and violence surrounding the protests have killed at least 434 people, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that monitors the protests. Iran is also participating in the World Cup and will face the United States on November 29.