World Cup 2022: Teams ditch rainbow headbands due to FIFA threats

A bid by European teams to promote participation during the World Cup fell through on Monday after the Netherlands, England and Wales said threats from FIFA forced them to abandon plans to wear rainbow-themed captain armbands.

Over the weekend, the captains of the three countries said they would wear One Love armbands at their matches on Monday to send a message against discrimination during the game. Qatara country where homosexuality is illegal.

But on Monday, the Dutch football association said it was forced to change tack after football authorities made it clear that captains would receive yellow cards for wearing unapproved armbands. England and Wales also said they would not go ahead with the plan.

“We deeply regret that together we could not find a reasonable solution,” said the KNVB, Dutch football’s governing body. “We stand for the One Love message and will continue to spread it, but our number one priority at the World Cup is to win the games.”

The statement also said: “Together with the other participating nations, we will take a critical look at our relationship with FIFA in the coming period.”

Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Belgium are also participating in the Dutch-led One Love campaign.

“As national federations, we cannot allow our players to face sporting sanctions, including warnings, which is why we have asked our captains not to wear armbands at World Cup games,” all football associations involved said in a joint statement shortly after. like Holland ad.

They added: “We are very disappointed with FIFA and we think this is unprecedented.”

The question of whether European captains would be allowed to wear their preferred armbands has been brewing for months leading up to the tournament. Football associations’ requests for FIFA’s permission to wear One Love armbands were made months ago, but the football governing body’s position only became clear on Monday, hours before kick-off, the Netherlands said in a statement.

Receiving a yellow card at the start of a match increases the risk of sending players off the field during the match. Initially, football associations expected that a fine would simply be paid for violations of the rules.

England captain Harry Kane said on Sunday: “We have made it clear as a team, staff and organization that we want to wear the armband.”

FIFA announced their own armbands on Saturday, the day before the start of the tournament. The UN-backed initiative, with slogans such as “Football unites the world” and “Share food”, was launched with a short video including messages from superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar.

At a press conference on Saturday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino responded to European criticism by saying football’s governing body needed to focus on areas of consensus.

“There are associations that think white and others that think black. Which one is better? What is the best reason? We cannot take sides. We must defend cases that are international, global in nature. . . because otherwise we start excluding people because they don’t think the way we do.”

FIFA rules state: “For FIFA final competitions, the captain of each team must wear the FIFA-provided captain’s armband.”

Following a statement from European teams on Monday, the Football Supporters Association, which represents fans in England and Wales, issued a statement condemning “player censorship” by FIFA.

“Today, we feel contempt for an organization that has demonstrated its true values ​​by giving a yellow card to the players and a red card of tolerance,” the message reads.

France was also part of the One Love campaign before the tournament. However, French captain Hugo Lloris has already made it clear he is unlikely to wear the armband, saying at the team’s press conference that he needs to show “respect” for Qatari culture.

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