Denmark signaled its exit from FIFA with a 'one love' armband ban

Denmark signaled its exit from FIFA with a ‘one love’ armband ban

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — European soccer again expressed its public frustration with FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the World Cup on Wednesday — this time in Denmark’s camp.

Denmark has vowed not to vote for Infantino, who is running unopposed for re-election in March. The head of the Danish Football Federation, Jesper Muller, also hinted at withdrawing from FIFA membership.

“I thought about it again,” Muller told Danish media in Qatar. “I think there will be challenges if Denmark chooses alone. But let’s see if we can talk.”

Müller, who is a member of UEFA’s executive committee, said Denmark’s issues with the FIFA president dated back to before the World Cup, but tensions with Europe have increased in recent days.

Infantino used a press conference during the tournament to blast the European community and the media for what he said was hypocrisy in their criticism of World Cup hosts Qatar.

FIFA’s threats to show captains yellow cards for wearing unauthorized armbands as part of its “One Love” anti-discrimination campaign brought seven European teams to a standstill on Monday before they played three matches.

It was an unprecedented clash at the World Cup with FIFA against players preparing for the biggest games of their careers.

In the German camp, officials said on Tuesday they were considering a legal challenge to FIFA’s tactics at the Court of Justice for Sport. The court has said that it has not filed any appeal yet.

“We have to respond to that,” Mueller said. “We will get through this together with other countries. We are in this together.”

Denmark also angered FIFA and Qatar with a team jersey design that drew attention to the host country’s dissatisfaction with human rights and the treatment of migrant workers. The team has a third option of a black jersey, chosen as the “color of mourning” for workers in Qatar.

At Denmark’s opening game on Tuesday, former prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt wore a rain armband to protest Qatar’s record on LGBTQ rights. Müller and Infantino also participated in the match, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Infantino claimed at the weekend that he had the backing of more than 200 of FIFA’s 211 member federations to stand for re-election. Denmark and Germany have publicly said they will not vote for him.

The deadline for candidates was Nov. 16, days before members met in Doha on Sunday, and no contender had submitted five credible pledges of support to stand. The election meeting is on March 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Infantino was a long-time UEFA employee and became its secretary general when he was elected to lead FIFA in 2016. His presidency has seen many clashes with former European colleagues over issues of football politics and he is living in Qatar ahead of the World Cup while working more closely with Africa.

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