FIFA has blocked Denmark’s national football team from wearing human rights messages on their training kits during the upcoming World Cup in Qatar due to “technical reasons,” according to the director of the nation’s football federation.
After qualifying for the World Cup last November, the Dansk Boldspil-Union (DBU) announced that it would replace sponsor logos on their training kits at the tournament with a message drawing attention to human rights issues in Qatar, including discriminatory laws and the treatment of migrant workers. According to The Athletic, this would have consisted of the slogan “Menskeregetteigs for alle” — Danish for “Human Rights for All.”
But The Athletic also reports that DBU director Jakob Jensen told Danish broadcaster DR Sporten on Thursday that the kits had been rejected “for technical reasons.”
FIFA has also apparently rejected similar requests from other nations participating in the World Cup, citing the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) Laws of the Game. Those state that “any team equipment (including clothing) must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.”
Jensen countered that “the message ‘Human Rights for All’ is universal and is not a political call, but it should be something that all people can support.”
Despite the setback with the training kits, the Danish team and manufacturer Hummel are still making a statement through their World Cup match kits, which were unveiled in September. While the jersey design honours the Danish team that won the 1992 European Championship, it appears tonally on all three kits, blending in the with the base color.
Hummel said on Instagram that the jerseys send a dual message of honouring the 1992 team and protesting Qatar’s human rights record: “We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives. We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn’t the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation.”
Denmark is in Group D at the World Cup along with France, Australia and Tunisia. Their first match will be against Tunisia on Tuesday, November 22, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar.