Activists call for Arab teams to show Palestine solidarity at 2022 Qatar World Cup, in line with Ukraine support

Activists call for Arab teams to show Palestine solidarity at 2022 Qatar World Cup, in line with Ukraine support
Activists on social media say that Arab teams taking part in the 2022 World Cup should be able to show support for the Palestinian cause, in a similar way to European teams expressing solidarity with other causes.
3 min read
26 September, 2022
Qatar is set to host the 22nd FIFA World Cup between 20 November and 18 December this year [Getty]

Activists online have taken to social media to call for Arab teams participating in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to display solidarity with Palestine.

The call comes as European football team captains announced that they will wear armbands in support of Ukraine and other causes.

The US sports website ESPN reported that Poland captain Robert Lewandowski said last week that he would sport a badge in a show of solidarity with Ukraine, which has been the target of an ongoing Russian invasion since February this year.

Meanwhile, England team captain Harry Kane said he will be wearing 'OneLove' armbands which aim to support inclusion and combat discrimination in football, reported the London-based Evening Standard last week.

Nine other European captains will do the same.

In response, Arab activists took to Twitter to voice the need for similar pro-Palestinian campaigns from the World Cup's Arab teams.

They used the Arabic-language hashtag #Palestine_Captain_Badge and called on Arab players to wear similar pro-Palestinian armbands, akin to their European counterparts.

The Arab teams which have qualified for the tournament are Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and hosts Qatar.

The activists denounced what they called "double standards" found in sports when it comes to expressing certain beliefs. They said players should be given a chance to draw attention to the Palestinian cause on an international stage.

One user said: "Since Lewandowski is wearing a leadership [armband] with the flag of Ukraine, why don't we run a media campaign on Twitter so that the Arab countries wear the [armbands] of Palestine, [with the use] of this hashtag and, God willing, our voice will be conveyed, because the topic has become very provocative against the double standards of the West".

Meanwhile, social media influencer and sports YouTuber Mohammed Adnan endorsed the idea in a video clip posted on Twitter. 

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However, no official decision has been issued by FIFA regarding whether European team captains will be allowed to wear the armbands that they had previously announced.

The highly-anticipated World Cup finals are set to take place in Qatar between November and December this year, with 1.2 million visitors expected to be in attendance, according to Bloomberg.

The Gulf nation became the first Arab country to host the world’s most celebrated sporting event, when it won hosting rights back in December 2010.