FIFA has demanded that Belgium remove the word "love" from the inside of the collar of their away shirt, ESPN (opens in new tab) is reporting.
Belgium, who are due to play Canada in their opening World Cup 2022 game on Wednesday, released the shirt in June in collaboration with music festival Tomorrowland, adding the word "love" to the collar of the away shirt.
However, they are no longer able to wear the shirt in its current capacity, due to a ruling by FIFA. Rainbow bracelets and the multicoloured warm-up shirt Belgium would wear at the World Cup have also been banned by football's governing body.
Flemish publication Nieuwsblad is reporting that the away shirt, rainbow bracelets and warm-up shirt are actually being banned because they're seen as subliminal advertising for the dance festival Tomorrowland, instead of anything else. Belgium will reportedly resolve the issue by placing a sticker over the word "love" on the away shirt, while they will wear different warm-up shirts.
The word love must disappear,” Peter Bossaert, CEO of the Belgian Football Association, told Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab). “It’s sad, but FIFA leaves us no choice. The rest of the equipment remains unchanged.”
Indeed, a source told ESPN that FIFA was not even open to negotiation and categorically refused to discuss the matter with the Belgian federation.
While there is no link between FIFA's demands placed on Belgium, and the OneLove armband captains of eight nations were preparing to wear - which ultimately weren't worn due to the threat of those players being yellow carded due to using the wrong equipment.
England, Belgium and Wales were among the nations planning to wear the multi-coloured armband throughout the tournament in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, to “promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination of any kind”
The risk of players being sanctioned meant the nations involved backed down on Monday, though.
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