It was about the Palestinian bracelet, which appeared more often this week on the arm of Qatari ministers. Qatar believes that Israel is occupying Palestinian territories and wants to encourage the Palestinians in this way.
There was a stir in Qatar when logistical restrictions on Israelis were lifted so that they can also visit the World Cup. Tens of thousands of Israeli football fans are expected in Qatar this week.
Wearing the Palestinian bracelet is also a response to the OneLove campaign. It was set up by the KNVB as an action for inclusion and diversity, with a view to the human rights situation in Qatar. Migrant workers were exploited and homosexuality is a criminal offence.
The intention was that the captain of the Dutch national team and six other European countries would wear a OneLove bracelet at the World Cup. The countries waived this because FIFA threatened with penalties.
The fuss about the ban on the band has not gone down well in Qatar, Helder noticed. “I have informed FIFA President Gianni Infantino that I am disappointed that players have not been able to wear the band.”
As mentioned, Helder did not wear the OneLove band because she did not want to provoke the Qatari government. According to her, wearing a pin did not endanger the trade relationship with the country. “But the issue is certainly sensitive. I noticed that.”
Ministers of Germany and Belgium wore the band last week during the duels of their national team. Britain’s Secretary of State for Sport, Stuart Andrew, decided to follow suit on Tuesday evening. The politician, who openly declares his homosexuality, confirmed that it was a protest against FIFA’s decision.
Helder says she is happy with her visit to Qatar. For example, she spoke with Qatari ministers of Labor and Social Affairs about reforms in the country. In addition, Helder entered into discussions with migrant workers. “The conversations we’ve had are actually the most important statement today.”
Gas supply was discussed indirectly on Tuesday, says the sports minister. “We have not been that specific about liquefied gas. We have spoken in a general sense about the relationship between our countries. I cannot say anything more about that.”