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Religion & soccer not a good mix, governing body says

Sport and politics have always been inextricably linked, despite the efforts to keep them at a distance. 

Olympics, World Cups, Super Bowls: none can escape behind-the-scenes maneuvering by vested interests and political manipulators.

But religion? Surely that’s a personal choice among players and teams involved in professional sports? Whether gathering in a huddle for a pre-game prayer or kneeling and giving thanks to the Almighty after scoring a goal or a touchdown—no one should mind, no?

However, soccer’s governing body in Mexico, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), has recently started to sanction players for showing off religious imagery during games, in addition to any political slogans or other promotions.

According to Article 41 of the FMF’s updated rulebook for 2023/24, players and coaches may not go onto the field wearing masks, caps, hats and tattoos with images of political parties, political or commercial campaigns, slogans, and messages that are either political or religious in nature.  Transgressors face steep fines.

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