European nations scrap One Love armbands plan due to fear of FIFA sanctions

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Harry Kane, Football, Anti-discrimination Armband
The associations fear their captains could be booked for wearing the armbands. (PA Photo)

England and Wales will not wear an anti-discrimination armband in their World Cup matches on Monday after FIFA threatened them with sporting sanctions.

A joint statement from seven European nations who had signed up to the One Love campaign – which included England and Wales – confirmed the armbands will no longer be worn.

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

“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.

“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.”

Kane had been due to wear the OneLove armband against Iran on Monday afternoon, while Wales skipper Gareth Bale was due to wear it in the match against the United States later in the evening.

The band contains the rainbow colours associated with the Pride flag and had been set to be a strong statement in Qatar, a country which criminalises same-sex relationships.

The statement continued: “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.”

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