There are many reasons to criticize FIFA for the way they’ve handled the Men’s World Cup that is about to begin in Qatar, and at the top of that list is that they chose to have it in a nation with egregious human rights violations.
The year may be 2022, but being an out gay male in Qatar is illegal, with a punishment of up to three years in prison. There is also the possibility of the death penalty for gay Muslims in the nation.
While people discuss why FIFA would go down this path of letting Qatar host the World Cup, the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) is quietly protesting the country’s extreme and cruel law.
The team announced earlier this week they redesigned their crest to include the colors of the Pride flag. The new crest will be displayed at their training base in Qatar.
While the new crest won’t be worn on the player’s jerseys while they play on the field, but it will be displayed at and area of the World Cup that the team has control over, like their training centers.
U.S. Soccer will also display the pride crest and rainbow flags at the pre-match parties it hosts for fans the night before the big games.
“When we are on the world stage and when we are in a venue like Qatar, it is important to bring awareness to these issues and that is what ‘Be the Change’ is about,” said head coach Gregg Barhalter.
“It is not just stateside that we want to bring attention to social issues, it is also abroad. We recognize that Qatar has made strides and there has been a ton of progress, but there’s some work still to do,” said Barhalter.
Some people have taken to the internet to say they were displeased with the U.S. Soccer team for replacing the usual red, white and blue for the Pride colors, but others are pointing out that it’s a protest against a country that commits human rights violations daily.
The USMNT begin their World Cup tournament on Monday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. They will also take on England on Black Friday at 2 pm and Iran on Tuesday, Nov 29. If they make it out of the group stage, their journey for World Cup glory will extend into December.
You can watch all of the World Cup matches on Fox Sports.