To support LGBTQ rights during the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament, the U.S. men’s soccer team will display a rainbow-colored crest in its training base, locker room and other areas it controls in Qatar.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host soccer’s biggest tournament.
The rainbow crests won’t be worn by the players during games, which start Sunday. The U.S. Men’s National Team typically displays a crest with blue letters and red stripes.
World Cup organizers said that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome. However, they also warned against public displays of affection.
Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman called homosexuality “damage in the mind” during an interview last week with German television ZDF.
Other nations also plan to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community during the tournament, which ends Dec. 18. England and Wales players plan to wear rainbow-colored armbands at the tournament with the words “One Love” on them.
Denmark’s team unveiled black jerseys to mourn migrant workers who died building facilities for the event. Australia’s team released a video calling for compensation for the migrant family’s workers
The U.S. rainbow crest is part of the team’s “Be The Change” initiative, which aims to highlight social issues.
“When we are on the world stage and when we are in a venue like Qatar, it is important to bring awareness to these issues and that is what ‘Be the Change’ is about,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said at a news conference on Monday.
“It is not just stateside that we want to bring attention to social issues, it is also abroad. We recognize that Qatar has made strides and there has been a ton of progress but there’s some work still to do.”