Denmark threaten FIFA withdrawal amid armband row
The Danish Football Association (DBU) are to hold talks with fellow UEFA nations to discuss a potential withdrawal from FIFA, the group’s CEO Jakob Jensen has revealed.
The move comes amid intense scrutiny of FIFA’s declaration that players in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar are not permitted to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband in support of humanitarian and equality issues at the event in Qatar, the World Cup hosts who have been forced to bat away accusations regarding the abuse of migrant workers and discrimination against LGBT+ people.
On Monday, seven European teams, including Denmark, were warned against wearing the anti-discrimination armbands and were told that players who did so may be penalized by referees and sanctioned by FIFA for wearing unauthorized apparel.
FIFA, meanwhile, has stated that its decision is based upon a desire to keep sport and politics separate, and has brought forward its own ‘No Discrimination’ campaign which was due to launch at the quarter-final stage which permits players to wear armbands featuring various anti-discrimination messages authorized by them.
But, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Jensen said that Danish captain Simon Kjaer was facing potentially sterner penalties than simply a yellow card for what would have been a high-profile instance of dissent against FIFA – and added that the backlash has led to discussions about formally withdrawing from world football’s governing body.
“On November 21, England asked for an emergency meeting with FIFA, who came to the English hotel,” Jensen said. “FIFA said it would at least give a yellow card.
“There has been discussion about whether there is a legal basis for giving a yellow card, but there is. The penalty could have been a yellow card, that the captain had not come on the pitch or that he was given a ban.”
Jensen also said that the situation caused intense anger within the DBU and that the institution would not be supporting the re-election of FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, who is running unopposed for world football’s top job.
“There are presidential elections in FIFA. There are 211 countries in FIFA and I understand that the current president has statements of support from 207 countries,” DBU chairman Jesper Moller added.
“Denmark is not among those countries. And we’re not going to be, either.”