Outrage over 'hypocritical' FIFA supporting gay footballer after World Cup armband ban

The governing body came out in support of gay footballer Jakub Jankto despite banning pro-LGBTQ+ armbands at the Qatar World Cup.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Quarter Final - Czech Republic v Denmark - Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan - July 3, 2021 Czech Republic's Jakub Jankto Pool via REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto has said he is gay. (Reuters) (Valentyn Ogirenko / reuters)

FIFA has been called “hypocritical” after it came out in support of a gay footballer despite banning pro-LGBTQ+ armbands at the Qatar World Cup.

The world football governing body told Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto “we're all with you” after the midfielder revealed he was gay on Monday.

Jankto, who plays for Sparta Prague on loan from LaLiga side Getafe, said on social media he was coming out because he wanted to live his life in “freedom”.

FIFA responded with support but was quickly reminded of its decision to ban ‘OneLove' armbands at the World Cup which were going to be worn by team captains in protest over Qatar's laws against same-sex relationships.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25 : Hazard Eden midfielder of Belgium with the ONE LOVE armband during a team photo session of the Belgian National Football team ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Morocco on November 25, 2022 in Doha, Qatar, 25/11/2022 ( Photo by Vincent Kalut / Photo News via Getty Images)
FIFA raised the threat of sporting sanctions for any footballer who wore the OneLove armband during the Qatar World Cup. (Getty Images) (Photonews via Getty Images)

Football writer Andrew Beasley said “your actions suggest otherwise” in response to FIFA.

Football journalist David Amoyal added: “You can’t have it both ways, either you support his rights and only assign World Cup where he can be himself, or you stop pretending you don’t only care about money.”

Journalist Julio César Ortega tweeted “Did you forget Qatar?”, while André Anchuelo called the governing body “Hypocrites!”.

Several European nations, including Germany, England and Wales, dropped plans to wear the OneLove armband after FIFA raised the threat of sporting sanctions, starting with yellow cards being shown to the captains wearing them.

England were hours from kick-off in their opening match against Iran when plans to wear the rainbow-coloured armband were abandoned.

There was also an initial crackdown from Qatar authorities on people wearing rainbow colours in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino defended the organistation's stance on the armband by suggesting football matches should be a time for everyone to "forget their problems" rather than create more.

He said: “When it comes to the pitch, to the field of play, you need to respect football, you need to respect the field of play and these regulations are exactly there for this reason.”

Read more: Patrice Evra claims West Ham team-mates wanted gay players thrown out of the side

Soccer Football - Mitsubishi Electric Cup - Final - Second Leg - Thailand v Vietnam - Thammasat Stadium, Pathum Thani, Thailand - January 16, 2023 FIFA president Gianni Infantino is pictured during the trophy ceremony REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
FIFA president Gianni Infantino defended their stance on the OneLove armband. (Reuters) (Athit Perawongmetha / reuters)

Read more: 'N'ice one Clan': Scots footballer praises Glasgow Clan for LBGTQ+ support

The English Premier League, Spain's LaLiga and European soccer governing body UEFA were among other football organisations to express support for 27-year-old Jankto.

Paris St Germain's Brazil forward Neymar said he was pleased to hear the news, telling reporters, "I have no prejudice and all forms of discrimination need to be reduced in all areas. Everyone should feel free and be able to be spontaneous with what they want to do."

Jankto's team Sparta Prague said he "spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club's management, coach and team mates some time ago. Everything else concerns his personal life."

In May last year, Blackpool forward Jake Daniels announced he is gay, while Australian Josh Cavallo came out as gay in 2021.

Watch: Czech Soccer Player Jakub Jankto Announces He's Gay in Video Post