FIFA forces Belgium to remove word ‘Love’ from second World Cup shirt
The second World Cup kit of Belgium's national football team has been rejected by FIFA, just days before its first World Cup fixture. The word 'Love' on the inside of the kit's shirt collars will have to be removed before it can be used, Het Nieuwsblad reported on Monday and Belga confirmed.
Produced in partnership with the Belgian music festival Tomorrowland, the kit features the festival's distinctive colours and design. According to the music festival, the kit is intended to make a statement promoting “LOVE in times of turmoil.”
It is the “LOVE” message of the shirt which has fallen foul of FIFA. The word, included amongst images of the festival’s fireworks, must now be removed from the new kits. “It’s sad, but FIFA leaves us no choice. The rest of the kit remains unchanged,” said Peter Bossaert, CEO of the Belgian Football Association, told Het Nieuwsblad.
Belgium will also back down from wearing the “One Love” armband for LGBTQ+ rights at the world cup after FIFA threatens to impose sporting sanctions on captains wearing the band at the start of the match. Amnesty International has criticised FIFA, saying they “do not care about social debates and criticisms of the World Cup.”
Belgium's Eden Hazard wearing both the banned One Love armband and the rejected second World Cup kit during a friendly game against Egypt in Kuwait on 21 November 2022 © BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR