Denmark revives European dispute with FIFA in World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — European soccer again showed its public frustration with FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday at the World Cup. — this time in the countryside of Denmark.

Denmark vowed it would not vote for Infantino, who is running unopposed for re-election in March. The president of the Danish football federation, Jesper Møller, has also hinted at his desire to leave FIFA membership.

“I have thought about it again,” Møller told Danish media in Qatar. “I imagine there may be challenges if Denmark chooses not to participate alone. But let’s see if we can’t have a dialogue.”

Denmark’s problems with the FIFA president predate the World Cup, said Møller, who is a member of UEFA’s executive committee, but tensions with Europe have intensified in recent days.

Infantino used a press conference on the eve of the tournament to rebuke European society and media. for what he said was hypocrisy in his criticism of World Cup host Qatar.

FIFA’s threats to show yellow cards to captains who wanted to wear an unauthorized armband as part of the “One Love” anti-discrimination campaign pushed seven European teams down on Monday. hours before three they were to play games.

It was an unprecedented World Cup dispute that pitted FIFA against the players on the day of preparation for one of the most important games of their careers.

At the Germany camp, officials said Tuesday they were considering a legal challenge to FIFA’s tactics in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The court has said that no appeal has yet been filed.

“We must respond to that,” Møller said. “We will get to that together with the other countries. We’re in this together.”

Denmark also upset FIFA and Qatar with a team jersey design which drew attention to dissatisfaction with the host nation’s record on human rights and treatment of migrant workers. The team has a third option of a black jersey, chosen as the “mourning color” for the workers who have died in Qatar.

At Denmark’s opening match on Tuesday, former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt wore a rainbow armband to protest Qatar’s LGBTQ rights record. Møller and Infantino also attended the match, which ended tied 0-0.

Infantino said over the weekend that he has received the support of more than 200 of FIFA’s 211 member federations to run for re-election. Denmark and Germany have publicly said they will not vote for him.

The deadline for nominations was November 16, days before members meet in Doha on Sunday, and no challenger provided the five valid pledges of support required to run. The electoral meeting is on March 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Infantino was a long-time member of the UEFA staff and was promoted to its secretary general when he was chosen in 2016 to lead FIFA. His presidency has seen several disputes with former European colleagues. on football policy issues and has been living in Qatar ahead of the World Cup while working more closely with Africa.


Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.


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