Soccer

FIFA World Cup: England, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands will not wear ‘OneLove’ armband in Qatar

England, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Wales, and Switzerland issued a joint statement on Monday confirming that they will not wear the OneLove armband at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar due to the “sporting sanctions” world soccer’s governing body is threatening.

FIFA has made it clear that any players wearing the proposed OneLove armband promoting diversity and inclusion will be booked and a joint statement from seven soccer federations spoke of their collective “frustration” at the stance.

“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented,” read the statement. “FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play. We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”

England captain Harry Kane and Wales skipper Gareth Bale were among those who had planned to wear the armband at the World Cup and the governing bodies in question said that they wrote to FIFA back in September informing them of the OneLove armband which brought no response. England has said that they will take a knee at the beginning of their match with Iran, however, and in all subsequent matches.

The OneLove campaign began with the Netherlands ahead of Euro 2020 as an anti-discrimination message — Qatar criminalizes same-sex relationships and even their promotion while FIFA president Gianni Infantino accused the West of “hypocrisy” in its reporting about Qatar’s human rights record in an astonishing tirade ahead of World Cup kick-off.

FIFA has now brought forward their own “No Discrimination” campaign which was only due to come into effect from the quarterfinals and all captains will now be permitted to wear one of those armbands for the entirety of the tournament.

The Football Supporters’ Association has slammed FIFA’s decision and have declared themselves “betrayed” by the world game’s governing body: “Today we feel contempt for an organisation that has shown its true values by giving the yellow card to players and the red card to tolerance. 

“Never again should a World Cup be handed out solely on the basis of money and infrastructure,” they added. “No country which falls short on LGBT+ rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights or any other universal human right should be given the honour of hosting a World Cup. It is astonishing that, on the morning of England’s World Cup opener, FIFA are censoring players and the nine national football associations who wish to share a positive message.”

England, the Netherlands, and Wales are all in action on Monday with the Three Lions facing Iran in the early kick-off before the Dutch face Senegal and the Welsh then tackle the USMNT.



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