ZURICH: The unfurling of a banner laying claim to the Malvinas/Falklands by Argentina’s players is being studied by world federation FIFA.
Argentina, one of the favourites to win the imminent World Cup in Brazil, posed proudly with a banner stating: “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” just before kickoff in their weekend warm-up win over Slovenia in La Plata.
FIFA and the International Board have tightened the rules over statements of any kind on kit in the past two years in a bid to create a level playing field which averts all sloganising – whether political, religious or political.
The unfurling of such a banner before the referee has signalled the start of a game may fall into an uncertain grey area though it was clear from pictures that the Argentinian players were in full match kit, not tracksuits.
A FIFA spokesman said: “We are analysing the matter . . . and will provide more information in due time.”
The South Korean player Park Jong-Woo was banned for two games and fined by FIFA after grabbing and waving a political banner after their victory over Japan in the bronze medal play-off at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The banner championed South Korea’s claim to islands which have long been the subject of a dispute with the Japanese.
Later the International Olympic Country, in disciplinary action of its own, ordered the Korean Olympic Committee to “educate its athletes on the rules of the Olympic charter and respect for Olympic values.”