FIFA clampdown leaves Vertonghen in fear of supporting OneLove; Belgium ordered to change shirts

By Samindra Kunti in Doha

November 23 – On the eve of Belgium’s opening game with Canada in the World Cup, Belgian veteran player Jan Vertonghen has said that he is afraid to talk about the OneLove armband. 

Belgium’s captain Eden Hazard will not be wearing the OneLove armband, just like the captains of some other European nations, after FIFA threatened with sporting sanctions

“I’m afraid to say more about this, because I would like to play tomorrow. It is a pity that we have been brought into this situation. And I want to leave it at that. That actually says enough,” said Vertonghen at a news conference.

“I’ve never been the man of big political statements, but now I’m sadly afraid to say things about this. If you can’t make a statement about ordinary things like ‘no to racism’ or “no to discrimination”…”

“If you were to make a statement by wearing the band now, I feel like you’re punishing yourself more,” said Vertonghen. “I’ve never been the man of big political statements, but now I’m sadly afraid to say things about this. If you can’t make a statement about ordinary things like ‘no to racism’ or “no to discrimination”.

Belgium were also forced to change their away jersey for the tournament. FIFA demanded they remove the world ‘LOVE’ from it.

Belgium along with England, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland all dropped their plans to have their captain wear an armband with ‘OneLove’ written on it, a message against discrimination, but just days after FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed he felt gay and disabled as well as a woman and a migrant worker. The world federation effectively stepped in to kill any love on the Qatari fields.

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