To say FIFA’s role in awarding the World Cup to Qatar, and then Gianni Infantino’s press conference, where he claimed that the country had been discriminated against, has not sat well with the European nations, is putting it lightly.
Several European nations had planned to wear a One Love armband in order to raise awareness about the absence of LGBTQI+ rights in Qatar, but were warned they or the players could face punishment. So far Germany are the only nation to do so.
Denmark were one of those nations and had also been banned from wearing a shirt with the words ‘Human Rights for All’ stitched into it.
Speaking after the match, Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand told the Independent that he was having doubts about the direction of the sport.
“This is something that has been built up for a long time and now in the latest days this is where we are,” said Hjulmand.
“We have this slogan in Denmark, ‘Part of something bigger’ and now I’m not sure I’m part of something I like. I love football and I love people, but it’s important to change direction.”
Asked whether he thought the punishment for wearing the armband would have stopped at a yellow card, he said it was not a political issue as FIFA terms it.
“It’s hard to tell about this. But this is standing up for diversity, this isn’t a political statement. Something that is really difficult and what we really value.”
As per Diario AS, Danish Football Association CEO Jakub Jensen and President Jesper Moller have now revealed that they are considering leaving FIFA.
“It is not a decision that has been made now. We have been clear for a long time. We have been discussing this in the Nordic region since August.”
“We have thought about it again now. I imagine there may be challenges if Denmark goes off on its own. We have to think about the question of how to restore confidence in FIFA. We must assess what has happened and then we must create a strategy, alongside our Nordic colleagues.”
While FIFA is a body of 211 members, that ultimately rules through a democracy, many of the large European nations hold power, sway and money within the organisation. FIFA President Gianni Infantino may well be forced into reform or face revolt.