FIFA President Gianni Infantino has finally spoken up about the controversial ‘One Love’ bracelet range, which was initially introduced as part of the organization’s anti-discrimination campaign. Infantino admitted that the decision to produce and distribute the bracelets was wrong, and that he had learned from the incident.

The One Love bracelets, which were launched at a FIFA congress in May 2019, featured the colors of the rainbow flag, and were promoted as a symbol of inclusivity and diversity. FIFA distributed the bracelets to all attendees of the congress, including officials from various soccer clubs and national associations.

However, the bracelets received criticism from some quarters, who suggested that the campaign was too focused on LGBT inclusion, and not enough on other forms of discrimination. In addition, critics argued that the campaign could be seen as hypocritical, given FIFA’s poor track record on human rights and its alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

Infantino, who was re-elected as FIFA President in June 2019, initially defended the campaign, stating that the organization was committed to “diversity and inclusion, in all its forms”. However, speaking at a recent event in London, he appeared to change his tune.

“I think that sometimes we make mistakes as human beings,” he said. “At the end of the day, we are not perfect, and we have to learn. The One Love campaign was a learning process for us, and we have to accept that we made a mistake.”

Infantino went on to say that FIFA was committed to fighting all forms of discrimination, not just discrimination against LGBT people. He suggested that the organization was currently working on a new campaign that would be more inclusive of all groups that face discrimination, such as people of different religions, races and abilities.

“We want to build bridges, not walls,” he said. “We want to bring people together, not divide them. And we want to make sure that everyone, regardless of their background or identity, feels welcome and valued in the world of soccer.”

Infantino’s comments have been met with mixed reactions. Some have praised him for acknowledging the mistake and committing to do better in the future. Others have argued that the One Love campaign was more than just a mistake, and that it was a symptom of a deeper problem within FIFA.

“It’s all well and good for Infantino to say that they ‘made a mistake’ with the One Love campaign, but the fact is, this is not the first time FIFA has been criticized for their lack of action on human rights,” said Eric Heineman, Director of the Sports and Human Rights program at the Institute for Human Rights and Business.

“All too often, FIFA has turned a blind eye to abuses in host countries during major tournaments, and has failed to hold its members accountable for discriminatory behavior. Until they take a more proactive and consistent approach to human rights, we can’t really trust their words.”

Others have been more supportive of the campaign, despite its flaws. Karen Espelund, a former member of FIFA’s executive committee, argued that the One Love bracelets symbolized an important message about openness and acceptance.

“The One Love campaign was not perfect, but it did send a powerful message,” she said. “It showed that FIFA was willing to take a stand on an important issue, and that it was committed to promoting diversity and reducing discrimination in soccer.”

Infantino’s admission of a “learning process” is likely to be welcomed by many who had been critical of the One Love campaign. However, it remains to be seen how FIFA will implement its new commitment to inclusivity, and whether it will be able to overcome the ongoing criticism that has plagued the organization for years.