News & Commentary State United Kingdom

Professional soccer players required to wear the LGBTQ rainbow: “Players who decline have been harassed, now risk disadvantaged careers”

A number of football clubs in the UK are now requiring players to wear the LGBTQ flag as part of their official uniform.

The wardrobe update coincides with the Football v Homophobia campaign, which is designed to “challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football.”

Ian Senior, the designer of the rainbow uniform said, “The response we have had really has been amazing. It beggars belief. We have sold between 400 and 500 shirts across the world in just over one week. It has made such a statement. It has sent out a clear message that there is no place for homophobia in any walk of life, let alone football.”

However, according to an organisation known as Let All Play, requiring professional soccer players to wear LGBTQ rainbow symbols violates FIFA and IFAB rules, which prohibit political, personal or religious symbols on game jerseys.

A document released by the group states: “The LGBT rainbow is a political symbol. The Laws of the Game from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) state, ‘Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images’ (Law 04.5). FIFA’s Equipment Regulations add that this includes a ban on any ‘political or comparable symbol’ (Article 8.3). FIFA needs to enforce its own rules.

“Not everyone agrees with the causes represented by the LGBT rainbow,” the organisation went on to state. “Players who have declined to wear the LGBT rainbow in international and league play have been harassed and now risk being disadvantaged in their careers.”

The group went on to argue, “those who disagree with the politics represented by the LGBT rainbow include some religious believers as well as those who oppose the threat that transgenderism poses to soccer for girls and women. These individuals and others should not be excluded from soccer just because they hold opinions that are at odds with LGBT advocates and vice versa.”

“FIFA and IFAB need to guarantee all are welcome,” they added.

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