World Cup 2022: England, Wales & other European nations will not wear OneLove armbands

World Cup 2022: England, Wales & other European nations will not wear OneLove armbands


Harry Kane of England wearing a One Love
The OneLove armband promotes diversity and inclusion – and is a symbol aimed at standing up to discrimination
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

England, Wales and other European nations will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup in Qatar because of the threat of players being booked.

The captains of nine countries, including England’s Harry Kane and Gareth Bale of Wales, had planned to wear the armband to promote diversity and inclusion.

A joint statement from seven Football Associations said they could not put their players “in a position where they could face sporting sanctions”.

“We are very frustrated by the Fifa decision which we believe is unprecedented,” the statement read.

The governing bodies said they had written to Fifa in September informing them about the OneLove armband but not received a response.

“Fifa has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the statement added.

“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.”

In response, Fifa has brought forward its own “No Discrimination” campaign, which had been due to start from the quarter-finals.

Captains will now be permitted to wear a No Discrimination armband for the duration of the tournament.

England begin their World Cup campaign against Iran at 13:00 GMT on Monday, while Wales play the United States at 19:00.

In a statement, the Football Supporters’ Associationexternal-link said it felt “betrayed” by Fifa.

“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 added.

“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.”

3LionsPride, an England fan group for LGBTQ+ supporters, saidexternal-link the decision was “more than disappointing” and added that captains’ “basic rights to freedom of speech and expression” were being crushed by Fifa.

The Netherlands began the OneLove campaign before Euro 2020 as a message against discrimination.

Same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised in Qatar.

On Saturday, Fifa president Gianni Infantino accused the West of “hypocrisy” in its reporting about Qatar’s human rights record.

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