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You are here News International Top U.S. Diplomat Blinken Criticizes FIFA Armband Threat At World Cup

Top U.S. Diplomat Blinken Criticizes FIFA Armband Threat At World Cup

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Blinken in QatarAmerica’s top diplomat on Tuesday criticized a decision by FIFA to threaten players at the World Cup with yellow cards if they wear armbands supporting inclusion and diversity.

Speaking alongside his Qatari counterpart at a news conference, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was “always concerning ... when we see any restrictions on freedom of expression.”

“It’s especially so when the expression is for diversity and for inclusion,” Blinken said at Doha’s Diplomatic Club. “And in my judgment, at least no one on a football pitch should be forced to choose between supporting these values and playing for their team.”

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment over Blinken’s remark.

Just hours before the first players with the armbands in support of the “One Love” campaign were to take the field on Monday, soccer’s governing body warned they would immediately be shown yellow cards — two of which lead to a player’s expulsion from that game and also the next.

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