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FIFA Silenced One World Cup Protest but May Face More This Year

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LONDON — Barely four months after it allowed a public fight over rainbow-colored armbands to overshadow the start of the World Cup in Qatar, world soccer’s governing body is facing similar questions about whether players will be allowed to express support for gay rights at this year’s Women’s World Cup.

It is a fight that everyone involved agreed should not have happened again. Stung by fierce public and internal backlash in November, when soccer’s leaders silenced a plan to wear armbands promoting a social justice campaign by threatening to suspend players who took part, FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, said in March that lessons had been learned from the events in Qatar.

Seeking to head off a new fight with some of the world’s top women’s players at their own championship, Infantino promised a solution would be in place before the Women’s World Cup opens in Australia and New Zealand on July 20.

Yet even as he was offering those assurances, FIFA had already found a new way of angering both its players and its partners.

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