The Qatar World Cup kept political messaging away from the football so that fans could enjoy “a little moment of pleasure and joy”, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Friday.
Speaking two days before the final between Argentina and France, Infantino defended FIFA’s decision not to allow teams to display any messages on their shirts or team captains’ armbands.
“It is not about prohibiting. It’s is about respecting regulations,” he told a news conference. “On the field of play we play football.”
“You need to respect the field of play. This is nothing new.”
The World Cup in the desert state had led to a significant amount of political discussion, with some teams voicing concerns about the host’s treatment of migrant labour, its approach to LGBT rights and FIFA’s threats to penalise players for political statements.
Germany’s soccer federation was among the most vocal in pressing for anti-discrimination “OneLove” armbands to be worn by players and said “extreme blackmail” from FIFA and a threat of sanctions led to Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Wales, England and Switzerland abandoning plans to wear them.