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FIFA rejects Denmark’s request for pro-human rights training shirts

Denmark world cup kit
Christian Eriksen shows Denmark's 'toned-down' all-white shirt for the Qatar World Cup [File: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP]

FIFA has rejected a request made by the Danish football federation (DBU) to wear pro-human rights training shirts at the World Cup in Qatar.

The DBU’s director Jakob Jensen told Danish news agency Ritzau that the international football governing body rejected the request because it does not permit political messages on shirts.

The proposed training kit would have contained the text “human rights for all”.

“We don’t think there’s any politics in it. We think that the human rights are universal, and we stand by this view,” Jensen said on Thursday.

“FIFA has a different assessment, and sadly we had to take that into consideration”.

The decision comes a week after FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Secretary-General Fatma Samoura sent a letter to all 32 World Cup teams urging them to “focus on the football” in Qatar and not let the sport “be dragged into every ideological battle that exists”.

The letter was a response to the protests made by several World Cup teams over the treatment of migrant workers and human rights in Qatar.

Denmark had earlier announced a “toned-down” kit ahead of the World Cup with a third all-black kit which it said represented the “colour of mourning”.

The Danish manufacturer Hummel issued a statement which said it did not wish “to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives”.

Hummel received criticism after the announcement for manufacturing about a third of its apparel in China, as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh, where human rights and labour laws have been called into question.

Qatar’s World Cup organising committee had previously responded to Denmark’s World Cup kit, saying Qatar had used the tournament “as a catalyst to drive change” and had reformed its migrant worker laws.

Jensen said that despite FIFA’s rejection of the proposed training kit, the DBU would continue its efforts to raise concerns.

Jensen said he had travelled to Qatar three times in the last 10 months, where he had met migrant workers who had told him that the dialogue they had conducted “makes a difference”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies