Former Danish PM wears rainbow outfit for her country’s World Cup clash with Tunisia

Former Danish PM wears rainbow outfit for her country’s World Cup clash with Tunisia after their captain was warned he would get a one-match ban if he wore OneLove armband

  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt claimed that captain threatened with ban for armband
  • She sported a blue dress with rainbow sleeves to watch the game from stands 
  • Came day after she posted on Instagram wearing the OneLove armband 
  • But FA and six other associations decided against players sporting it after Fifa said it contravened rules on political symbols
  • However Fifa has instructed stadium security to let fans wear rainbow symbols  

Denmark’s former prime minister yesterday wore a rainbow outfit for her country’s World Cup with Tunisia after their captain was warned he would get a one-match ban if he wore a OneLove armband.  

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 55, now a Danish FA official, claimed that Simon Kjaer was threatened with the ban for wearing the armband during the 0-0 game with Tunisia. 

The 55-year-old sported a blue dress with rainbow sleeves to meet FIFA chief Gianni Infantino before the match and was also seen wearing the outfit in the stands during the game. 

It came a day after she posted on Instagram wearing the OneLove armband- something that several teams were supposed to wear on the pitch. 

However, FA and six other countries’ associations decided against wearing the anti-discrimination armband at the World Cup after Fifa said it contravened their rules on political symbols.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 55, now a Danish FA official, claimed that Simon Kjaer was threatened with the ban for wearing the armband during the 0-0 game with Tunisia. The 55-year-old sported a blue dress with rainbow sleeves to meet FIFA chief Gianni Infantino before the match and was also seen wearing the outfit in the stands during the game, pictured

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 55, now a Danish FA official, claimed that Simon Kjaer was threatened with the ban for wearing the armband during the 0-0 game with Tunisia. The 55-year-old sported a blue dress with rainbow sleeves to meet FIFA chief Gianni Infantino before the match and was also seen wearing the outfit in the stands during the game, pictured 

Speaking to Danish publication NRK before Denmark’s first group game, Ms Thorning-Schmidt said that the fight for rights in football should not be given up.

The 55-year-old added that she thought the football federation in Denmark (DBU) had ‘fought a fair fight’ for the gesture to be given the green light. 

The former PM, who is married to the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, Stephen, also said:  ‘I spoke with activists from the LGBTQ + community in Qatar and I really had a good overview of the things that we can put in place to help them.

‘I fully support the seven teams who will not wear the armband in view of the heavy FIFA sanctions. The best thing we can hope for now is for one of the seven teams to win this cup.’

The 55-year-old watches the Denmark v Tunisia match in Qatar during the World Cup yesterday, pictured

The 55-year-old watches the Denmark v Tunisia match in Qatar during the World Cup yesterday, pictured

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, wearing rainbow coloured sleeves on her outfit, watches the FIFA World Cup 2022 group D soccer match between Denmark and Tunisia at Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, wearing rainbow coloured sleeves on her outfit, watches the FIFA World Cup 2022 group D soccer match between Denmark and Tunisia at Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar

Speaking to Danish publication NRK before Denmark's first group game, the former PM said that the fight for rights in football should not be given up. Pictured: The former PM's rainbow coloured sleeves during the match yesterday

Speaking to Danish publication NRK before Denmark’s first group game, the former PM said that the fight for rights in football should not be given up. Pictured: The former PM’s rainbow coloured sleeves during the match yesterday

She was also seen meeting FIFA chief Gianni Infantino, pictured centre, in the outfit before the match

She was also seen meeting FIFA chief Gianni Infantino, pictured centre, in the outfit before the match

Issam Jebali of Tunisia and Simon Kjaer of Denmark during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Denmark and Tunisia yesterday

Issam Jebali of Tunisia and Simon Kjaer of Denmark during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Denmark and Tunisia yesterday

Also yesterday, a Danish reporter refused to remove his ‘OneLove’ anti-discrimination armband ahead of his live TV report when a Qatari official ordered him to. 

Jon Pagh, a journalist for Danish broadcaster TV2, stood in defiance against the official and refused to adhere to his order to remove the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol from his arm. 

Pagh was getting ready to do a TV report about Denmark’s World Cup match against Tunisia when the Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband – but the Danish reporter refused.

The armbands have been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in World Cup host Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. 

Pagh’s refusal to remove the rainbow-themed armband came days after another Danish journalist from TV2, Rasmus Tantholdt, was forced off-air after Qatari security staff threatened to destroy his camera if he did not stop filming. 

Jon Pagh, a journalist for Danish broadcaster TV2, stood in defiance against the official and refused to adhere to his order to remove the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol from his arm

Jon Pagh, a journalist for Danish broadcaster TV2, stood in defiance against the official and refused to adhere to his order to remove the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol from his arm

And now, in the latest example of Qatari officials cracking down on the media and those who wear the OneLove armband, Pagh was ordered to remove the symbol from his arm before starting a TV report.

In an exchange that was filmed by TV2 film crew, Pagh told the official: ‘I understand that you’re telling me that, but I can’t take it off.’ 

Pagh, reaching for his OneLove armband, asked: ‘Why is this not allowed?’ 

The official then said something to Pagh, but it is inaudible because he has his hand over his mouth.

Pagh responded: ‘It’s because of the colours? But this just says One Love.’

The Qatari official, becoming agitated, then told the TV crew to stop filming before thrusting his hand over the camera.

A defiant Pagh continued: ‘It just says one love. It’s respecting everybody. Look, I respect that you’re telling me this.’ 

The Qatari official then walked off, leaving Pagh looking at the camera with incredulity.

Pagh was about to start a TV report when a Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband

Pagh was about to start a TV report when a Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband

It came after England were threatened with an ‘extreme blackmail’ of one-game suspensions if they wore their OneLove armband against Iran on Monday, the German FA have claimed. 

German FA media director Steffen Simon told German radio: ‘The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple rule violations and threatened with massive sporting sanctions without specifying what these would be.

‘We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We are not impostors who claim they have values and then betray them.

‘We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so.’

England captain Harry Kane, pictured, had been previously due to wear a OneLove armband before the FA threats

England captain Harry Kane, pictured, had been previously due to wear a OneLove armband before the FA threats 

Previously, England captain Harry Kane, who was due to wear the armband before being threatened with a booking, said: ‘I am honoured to join my fellow national team captains in supporting the important OneLove campaign.

‘As captains we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we stand together against all forms of discrimination.

‘This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.’

He had worn the armband during England’s Nations League fixtures in September. 

Referees in the World Cup are not happy that they have been used as pawns in Fifa’s battle with European nations in the armband row.   

Many of the 36 referees were astonished that they may be forced to book captains for wearing the symbol. 

Meanwhile, Fifa has instructed security guards to allow rainbow symbols into stadiums. It came after former Wales captain Laura McAllister, pictured, and some LGBT supporters from the Rainbow Wall group were told to take off their bucket hats before the country's match against the USA on Monday

Meanwhile, Fifa has instructed security guards to allow rainbow symbols into stadiums. It came after former Wales captain Laura McAllister, pictured, and some LGBT supporters from the Rainbow Wall group were told to take off their bucket hats before the country’s match against the USA on Monday

Another person was also told to take off their rainbow symbol before the match on Monday, American journalist Grant Wahl, pictured. He was detained by security personnel for wearing a rainbow t-shirt

Another person was also told to take off their rainbow symbol before the match on Monday, American journalist Grant Wahl, pictured. He was detained by security personnel for wearing a rainbow t-shirt

Fifa did not get as far as instructing their officials to book players for wearing the armband, but told the European rebels that yellow cards would be issued at the start of matches to those who did so, leading some of the referees to claim privately that they have been used weapons in a political war without any consultation.

Meanwhile, Fifa has instructed security guards to allow rainbow symbols into stadiums. It came after former Wales captain Laura McAllister and other LGBT supporters from the Rainbow Wall group were told to take off their bucket hats before the country’s match against the USA on Monday. 

Ms McAllister told ITV News: ‘While we were queueing we heard that people wearing a rainbow bucket hat had to take it off.’ 

Another person was also told to take off their rainbow symbol before the match on Monday, American journalist Grant Wahl. He was detained by security personnel for wearing a rainbow t-shirt. 

And the Belgian federation was banned on Monday from wearing its ‘outside’ jersey. This has prints with the colours of the rainbow and the ‘Love’ on the colour.   

The rainbow symbol is viewed as a pro-LGBT rights statement in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

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