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NGO All Out Uses Virtual Football to Bring One Love Armbands to Qatar World Cup


Initiative by All Out and AlmapBBDO brings 'One Love' armbands onto the pitch in the world's most famous E-sport video game FIFA

NGO All Out Uses Virtual Football to Bring One Love Armbands to Qatar World Cup

The World Cup is never just about football. It's known for sparking political debates – and the 2022 edition in Qatar has made headlines for harsh critiques of crackdowns on human rights activism, and LGBT+ activism in particular. Just before the whistle, in a move that ignited indignation across the world, FIFA banned the use of the 'One Love' armband, which several national teams had adopted in support of the struggle against discrimination and homophobia. But All Out, a global NGO dedicated to advocacy for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, has managed to dribble around that ban – in the virtual world.

Users created a mod for FIFA 23 that makes it possible for players to wear the banned armband. Now, All Out is publicising that mod, which can be adopted by any of the 32 teams playing in this year's World Cup here. Now, people can allow virtual players to do what they've been forbidden to do in the real world.

According to All Out campaign manager Justin Lessner, this is yet another initiative in a broader array of protests. "The armband thing is really striking, because the rainbow on it isn't even the LGBT+ flag! Even so, team captains were forbidden from wearing it and threatened with punishment if they did. That goes to show how the repression of the mere mention of LGBT+ issues in Qatar is both severe and highly coordinated – so just imagine what LGBT+ people in Qatar go through! It's incredibly dangerous."

The #PlayWithLove project is a collaboration between ALL OUT and Brazilian advertising agency AlmapBBDO, and will also feature streamers and pro players from Brazil and across the globe who will play matches live, highlighting their players' armbands. "It's not just about the players themselves taking a stand. This is where creativity comes into it. Diversity has to be there on the pitch, on the court, in the press, on social media, and across the world," say Rodrigo Almeida and Rafael Gil, executive creative directors at AlmapBBDO.

All Out is 100% behind the initiative, acting on all continents and working directly to mobilise people in defence of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people, opposing everything from anti-gay legislation to bans on pride parades or a company discriminating against trans people.

The file to download the banned armband will be available starting this December, 1st, and can be used by anyone with access to FIFA 23. All Out is also inviting people to sign a global petition in support of LGBT+ rights in Qatar. “The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet. And even so, it's not for everyone," concludes Justin of All Out. "Whether on the pitch or off it, nobody should be punished for defending the right to be yourself and love who you love."

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Categories: Corporate, Social and PSAs, LGBTQ+

AlmapBBDO, Fri, 02 Dec 2022 09:26:43 GMT