Tennis star, Martina Navratilova, calls FIFA a “criminal organization” in response to reports of their suppression of the “One Love” campaign at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA and everyone involved with the 2022 World Cup received strong criticism for holding the tournament in Qatar. With the nations’ history of human right’s violations and strict anti-LGBTQ+ legislation coming into question. The “One Love” armband was a way for soccer players to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community and its rights, while playing in a country where its existence is illegal.
The organization announced that players who wore the armband would get yellow cards during games, opposed to the traditional monetary fines that typically come with these types of offenses. As multiple yellow cards lead to suspension, players refrained from wearing the armbands. The controversy sparked international headlines and reports of attendees being reprimanded or harassed for wearing pride gear in Qatar became more common.
“FIFA is a criminal organization,” tennis legend and current Real Housewives of Miami star, Martina Navratilova tweeted.
FIFA’s response to the “One Love” campaign has been just as controversial as their decision to allow Qatar to host the tournament, even garnering a response from the U.S. Congress. More than two dozen legislators sent a joint letter to FIFA earlier this week. Ripping their response to the campaign and calling them hypocritical for hosting the tournament in Qatar after claiming to be “anti-discrimination.”
“Every person – regardless of who they are or whom they love – has the right to be treated with decency and respect, and to live their life free from fear of discrimination. No one should be denied the opportunity to participate in daily life or their love of a sport because of who they are, and no one should be silenced for standing up for those rights,” the letter read. The legislators also implored FIFA to “meaningfully reaffirm the principle that harassment and discrimination are not tolerated at their sanctioned events, consistent with the association’s own campaign and public statement.