FIFA make another World Cup order as Belgium told to change ‘love’ kit

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FIFA have reportedly ordered to Belgium remove the word ‘love’ from the collar of their away strip just days before their World Cup campaign gets underway. It is the second demand that football’s governing body have made today after they threatened team captains with bookings if they choose to wear the OneLove armband in protest at Qatar’s human rights record. 

Belgium will play their first game of the tournament on Wednesday facing Canada in the Al Rayyan Stadium. The Red Devils are expected to be fighting for the top spot in Group F with Croatia and Morocco their other opposition but they have faced distractions as they prepare for the competition with FIFA objecting to their away kit. 

The strip was designed in collaboration with Tomorrowland, the famous music festival held in Belgium. The nation wanted to make a ‘love’ shirt in preparation for the tournament in Qatar so the word was added to the back collar of the away top. It has been on sale for months and proved popular within the country. 

However, FIFA has complained, instructing the Belgian FA to remove the word from the strip according to ESPN. The governing body is not up for negotiation on the matter and has categorically refused to discuss it with the federation.

It is not yet clear whether or not Belgium will accept FIFA’s request to remove the word with the nation set to wear their home shirt in their three group games. The Belgian FA would have to order new shirts from kit manufacturer Adidas if they did comply, with none of their strips in Qatar ‘love’ free. 

The demand comes just hours after FIFA told national team skippers that they faced sporting sanctions including bookings and potential one-match bans if they chose to wear their OneLove captain armbands. The message is a protest against Qatar’s dreadful record on LGBTQ+ rights, something which has been a major controversy of the tournament. 

Belgium were set to be joined by England, Wales, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands in wearing the armband with the national authorities ready to take fines as punishment. However, once it became clear that individuals would be sanctioned they pulled out, instead wearing a FIFA approved ‘no discrimination’ armband. 

Belgium are considered outsiders for the tournament despite coming third in 2018 as Roberto Martinez contends with an ageing squad. Germany or Spain are likely to await in the round of 16 should they get there which will be a very difficult task for the side to overcome.

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