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A rainbow-themed badge adorns the USMNT’s training camp in Qatar

The USMNT The World Cup squad shows off support for the LGBTQ community through a team logo with rainbow in their training facility and media workroom.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar which hosts the tournament starting on Sunday. The design features seven vertical rainbow stripes below “USA” in navy blue lettering and is part of the Be the Change initiative the team adopted in 2020 to inspire action on social justice issues.

“When we’re on the world stage and when we’re in a place like Qatar, it is important to raise awareness of these issues and that’s what Be the Change is all about,” USMNT coach Greg Berhalter said at a news conference Monday. “Not only in the States we want to draw attention to social problems, but also abroad. We recognize that Qatar has made strides and there is much progress, but there is more work to be done.”

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This is according to the organizers of the FIFA World Cup, which is the first to be held in a Middle Eastern country everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or origind, is welcome, while cautioning against public displays of affection.

Footballers have expressed concern in particular about the rights of fans traveling to the event LGBTQ people and womenwho human rights groups say Qatari laws are discriminatory. “We are a group that believes inclusion and we will continue to broadcast that message going forward,” said the American goalkeeper Shawn Johnson. “We have had discussions and continue to have discussions going into the games. We rely on the message “Be the change”. This is something we are proud of and continue to work towards, be impactful with yourself, with our presence and our platform and we will continue to be that here in Qatar.”

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rainbow badge, which will not be worn by the team during World Cup matches, is routinely displayed by US Soccer regardless of the occasion as a way to promote a spirit of inclusion. “Our rainbow badge has an important and consistent role in American football’s identity,” spokesman Neil Bute said in an email to Reuters. “As part of our approach to any match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as to promote a spirit of inclusivity and hospitality to all fans around the world. As a result, the venues we will manage and operate at the World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow US Soccer branding.”

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