Don't burden athletes with political statements, Dutch King says
According to King Willem-Alexander, athletes should not be burdened with political statements during a major sporting event, such as during the Football World Cup in Qatar last autumn. The King said that in the podcast series Through the Eyes of the King.
During the football tournament, there was a lot of to do around the One Love armband, which footballers weren’t allowed to wear. The World Cup organizers in Qatar banned the armband, which is a symbol for connnection and against racism and discrimination.
“You shouldn’t burden athletes with that,” the King said in the podcast recorded in honor of his tenth anniversary as King this year. But an athlete must be able to make a statement if he “does it of his own accord,” Willem-Alexander added. “Then it should be possible.’
“Athletes have to play their sport,” Willem-Alexander continued. “They put everything aside all their lives to be able to perform at the top level. It is not the football players’ fault that it was decided in 2010 to hold a World Cup in Qatar. They are athletes. They have qualified for the World Cup. They can’t help where the World Cup is, and they have to concentrate on the sport. You have to keep sports and politics apart at that level.”
Reporting by ANP