The captains of a number of European national teams will no longer be instructed to wear the ‘One Love’ captain’s armband at the Qatar 2022 World Cup after FIFA has threatened to punish players who take to the field wearing one.
The respective federations of England, Wales, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had all said that their captains would wear the armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community. There has now been considerable climbdown on the day of England and Wales’ opening World Cup fixtures.
“The regulations are the same for everyone,” said FIFA. That has seen the federations stand down.
The wearer of the captain’s armband in question would be reprimanded at the start of the match, in addition to a financial penalty for both the player and the federation in question. Faced with such a situation, the teams have given up their initial intention. A second yellow card during the competition would result in a one-match ban for the player, although the captain’s armband could be rotated.
“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband,” said the seven federations in a joint statement.
“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.”
Until Monday morning, FIFA tried to reach an agreement, but they believe there is no other possibility than to apply the regulations in view of the possibility of similar cases occurring during the tournament that would result in a sanction.
What FIFA want to make clear is that the matter has nothing to do with the message behind the gesture, and more to do with the fact that it is forbidden to make any political gesture within the competition.
Now, some of the teams are considering having their players kneel at the start of the match, a gesture already accepted by the world of sport.