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World Cup 2022: England & Wales will no longer wear OneLove armbands
Several countries have released a statement around the planned promotion of inclusivity at Qatar 2022.
England, Wales and other countries will no longer wear OneLove armbands during the World Cup after being told players would be booked as a result.
Several nations had planned to wear the armband as a statement of diversity and inclusion amid the controversial backdrop of the tournament in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
A joint statement from the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands said: “FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.
“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.
“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.
“We are very frustrated by the Fifa decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to Fifa in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”
The decision came just hours before England’s opening game of the World Cup against Iran and Wales’ first match against USA.
The Football Supporters’ Association also released a statement, condemning FIFA for choosing to discipline players wearing the armband.
“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,” it said.
“Never again should a World Cup be handed out solely on the basis of money and infrastructure.
“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's astonishing that, on the morning of England's World Cup opener, Fifa are censoring players and the nine national FAs who wish to share a positive message.”
Campaign group Kick It Out also criticised the decision, claiming that it again showed “FIFA's failure to address concerns of both human rights groups and the LGBTQ+ community in the build-up to this tournament”.