Dutch football bringing back OneLove inclusivity captain’s armbands this month

Men’s football captains playing for teams in the Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie will again wear the OneLove armbands to promote equality and connectivity. The campaign will take place over the March 17-19 weekend. Like last year, the campaign is meant to be linked with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which takes place on March 21.

Dutch football association KNVB, sports channel ESPN and the two professional football leagues already expressed the wish to organize the OneLove campaign annually around this date.

The upcoming OneLove promotion is the first in the Netherlands since the commotion surrounding the Coming Out Day campaign in October. At that time, Feyenoord Orkun Kökcü and Excelsior captain Redouan El Yaakoubi refused to wear the armband.

“It is within someone’s right to not participate,” said a KNVB spokesperson. “The goal is not for every captain wears the band. But the more, the better.” The action will also be planned for the next Coming Out Day, which takes place annually in the Netherlands on October 11.

At the end of last year, the Dutch men’s national team wanted to play in the World Cup with the OneLove armband along with several other countries. However, FIFA effectively banned the campaign. Due to the presence of a few colors seen on flags used in support of the LGBT communities, the armband was considered an affront to the Qatari government. The country has strict laws against homosexual acts, forced detransition surgeries and prison sentences for trans women, and denies equal rights related to accessing adoption, goods and services, and healthcare.

The KNVB also intends to expand the OneLove campaign to amateur and school football. Amateur clubs will each receive a flag to hang at the club to show that everyone is welcome. “We noticed that there was a need for this,” a spokesperson said. The promotion later this month will also be bigger than before in other ways, but details about this will be released at a later date.

Reporting by ANP

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