French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra donned a royal blue polo shirt with rainbow sleeves in the stands of the France-England 2022 World Cup match on Saturday in Doha, an apparent gesture of support for the rights of LGBT + people, have observed by AFP photographers. Homosexuality, like sex outside marriage, is criminalized in Qatar, which has earned strong criticism from the Qatari authorities and Fifa.
Several Western, German and Danish officials made similar gestures during the group stages. According to the minister’s entourage, she wore “the blue of the France team, the colors of the rainbow and a France-Qatar friendship badge“.
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Eight Western European federations had once considered having their captain wear a “One Love” rainbow armband, but they finally gave up on it, citing threats of sporting sanctions from FIFA. During the official photo before their first match, against Japan on November 23, the German players put their hands in front of their mouths, in a universal gesture of gag to signify their indignation at what they considered to be an attack on their freedom of expression.
An attitude strongly criticized in Qatar and in non-Western countries, under the reproach of mixing sport and politics. The president of the French Football Federation, Noël Le Graët, had expressed his opposition to the “One Love” armband. Saturday, in the official gallery, at the time of the hymns, he was installed next to the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, and separated from the minister by a few seats, according to photos from AFP.
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