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.
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!”.
— André Anchuelo (@andre_anchuelo) February 14, 2023
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
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) February 13, 2023
Weren't so keen on the pride flag last November and December, were you
— Oscar Dayus (@dayusz) February 13, 2023
Your actions suggest otherwise.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) February 13, 2023
* unless it's in Qatar *
— Tim Bailey 🏳️🌈🇬🇧 (@theboybailey69) February 14, 2023
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.”
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