When it comes to players wearing weird or striking pieces of clothing or fashion on the pitch, a few examples come rushing to mind. These vary all the way from Peter Cech’s iconic headgear to Saint-Maximin’s bandana. However, the one thing common about these instances is that they are all legal.
One type of clothing that is not legal, however, is jewellery. Whether it be FIFA, the FA, or any other football sporting organisation, the one thing they all agree on is that anything that blings should be taken off.
There have been several instances before where players have, wittingly or not, failed to remove their chains, rings, or other items before matches.
One such incident was that of Ainsley Maitland-Niles back in 2019 when he had a gold chain around his neck that referees seemed to have missed in their pre-match check.
As a result, the chain had to be removed on the pitch when it was noticed, and when the chain failed to come off easily, he had to be taken off the pitch in order to keep the match going while that was sorted.
One would not expect a silly thing like this to happen at a tournament where the regulations are followed to the strictest levels, like the World Cup. After all, the referees are handpicked from all corners of the world and every official involved is one of the highest standards.
Kounde wore the necklace until the 41st minute when referee Jesus Valenzuela ordered him to remove them. Kounde was called to the sideline by a France assistant, who unhooked the latches before returning to the bench.
Didier Deschamps, France’s coach, was questioned if Kounde left the necklace on because it represented a rainbow motif.
Deschamps stated that he had no clue what was on Kounde’s chains, but that any jewellery is prohibited during matches.
The rainbow here is important because of how Qatar is deciding to punish those who are promoting any sort of solidarity with the LGBT+ community during the World Cup.
The chain that Kounde was wearing is one that he has worn for a very long time and probably has little to do with directly showing solidarity for the community, but it does have an interesting story.
This chain is a Golf Wang product, a company founded by popular rap artist “Tyler, the Creator”.
Tyler, The Creator is known for being one of the first openly gay artists in the rap community, which has historically been homophobic.
He is regarded as an icon in the rap industry not just because of his music, but also because of how he openly showcases his sexuality.
Additionally, his company reflects these ideas by being vibrantly coloured and aesthetically diverse.
This explains why the chain is rainbow in colour, as the chief founder of the brand is gay himself. So while Kounde may not consciously be going against the Qatari rules, he might have unknowingly made a bold statement.
The chain can be found on this website for around 70 USD. The chain is gold plated and has the previously discussed rainbow pendant which says the words, Golf Wang.
He can be seen wearing the same chain in this older Instagram post.
Koundé played the rest of the game before being replaced by Axel Disasi. He put in a great performance to solidify his status as France’s starting right-back, having taken over the job following Benjamin Pavard’s poor performance against Australia in the first game.
He may have had to give up his gold during the game, but we’re sure “Jewels” Kounde would like to lift some official gold at the end of the tournament.
France play England next in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and are three wins away from being back-to-back World Champions.