Outvertising, a representative that supports advertising professionals within the LGBTQIA+ community has called out FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as “taking a step backwards”. It has asked brand owners and agencies to stand by their inclusive statements around the LGBTQIA+ community by, for example, pulling their branding.
Outvertising’s mission includes supporting and encouraging brands in demonstrating active allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community. Quoting the UK Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) report, it added that almost half of all consumers and two-thirds of young adults have more respect for brands who address the many issues around Qatar 2022 than those who stay silent. With the platform brands have during the tournament, the organisation claims that allyship can be demonstrated and it can be powerful.
“Football fans would love nothing more than to be able to stick to the football, but brands are needed to use their platforms to meaningfully showcase what their true inclusive values mean to themselves, their employees and their consumers,” said in a statement by Outvertising.
The statement was released after the news of FIFA has warned European football teams that are competing at the 2022 Qatar World Cup that they are not permitted to wear “OneLove” armbands that show solidarity with LGBTQ rights during the tournament. According to multiple media sources, wearing the armbands will result in a penalty. Hours before the matches began, FIFA gave the warning that it would issue a yellow card to any player wearing the rainbow-coloured armband.
In response to FIFA’s new rules, the soccer associations, including England, Wales, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, expressed frustration and added that while it is prepared to pay fines "that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations", it cannot put "players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play”.
In addition to the latest news of FIFA warning teams not to wear the "OneLove" armbands, there was also the news of the 2022 World Cup's host Qatar banning the sales of alcohol at the games in a last-minute decision, according to Reuters.
On a similar note to the "OneLove" armbands, World Cup ambassador and former footballer Khalid Salman told German broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality as “damage in the mind” earlier in the month. Additionally, FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino also triggered backlash for saying he felt gay, with many calling the statement hypocritic given Qatar's stringent rules against homosexuality.
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