DOHA, Qatar (AP) — FIFA has rejected Belgium’s request to wear team jerseys with the “Love” label at the World Cup in Qatar because of its commercial ties to the Rio festival.
The multicolored detailing on the white shirt, launched by Belgium’s signature electronic music event Tammorland in September, was described as a “symbol of the values of diversity, equality and inclusiveness”.
But FIFA rules on team uniforms and equipment have forced Belgium to change their World Cup plans to the traditional red of their first alternate jersey.
“We have to leave it for commercial reasons as it is referred to Sabaland,” the Belgian football federation said on Monday.
FIFA declined to comment on its ruling on the second-choice jersey, which was made a few weeks ago.
The decision came on Monday after FIFA reversed its decision to ban Belgium and six other European teams because their captains wanted to show off Qatar’s multi-coloured, heart-shaped logo with “One Love”. “Wear the armband. The teams backed off when FIFA threatened each captain with instant yellow cards.
The armband, which breaks FIFA equipment rules, was to support a Dutch anti-discrimination campaign that drew attention to the host nation’s record on human rights.
The “One Love” campaign highlighted a little-known FIFA rule that Belgium also ignored.
All 32 World Cup teams must seek FIFA approval for the design and colors of three contrasting team uniforms months before the tournament. FIFA has now approved Belgium’s white jersey with the same color trim but with the “Love” label covering the inside of the collar.
“In principle we could play in this (World Cup), but at the same time we chose to play in red for the group stage matches,” the Belgian football federation said.
Belgium open their Group F program against Canada on Wednesday. The 2018 World Cup semi-finals again feature Morocco and Croatia, the losing finalists four years ago.
A similar case was enforced last year by European football governing body UEFA, which denied Ajax permission to include the “three little birds” motif on a shirt inspired by reggae music icon Bob Marley for a Champions League match.
Ajax could wear a black shirt with gold, red and green trim to honor their fans’ anthem, but UEFA decided the motif should be removed from the back of the shirt.