England, Wales drop LGBTQ+ armbands after Fifa warnings in Qatar
Doha, Nov 21 (EFE).- Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and Virgil van Dijk are among a host of European football stars who will no longer wear the One Love armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar following warnings from Fifa that the gesture of solidarity could result in an instant yellow card.
The football associations of Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales, whose captains had been due to sport the rainbow-colored armband in Qatar, a deeply conservative Muslim nation, announced the last-minute U-turn in a joint statement issued Monday.
“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the statement said.
“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.”
The seven federations said they were prepared to pay the fines applicable to breaches of kit regulations and were strongly committed 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.”
England’s World Cup campaign is due to kick off Monday afternoon with a Group B tie against Iran.
Fellow Group B competitors Wales and the USA will go head to head in the evening’s fixture.EFE