The captains of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands will not wear the OneLove anti-discrimination armband in their World Cup opening matches after it was confirmed their captains would receive yellow cards if they took part in the initiative .
The announcement came just ahead of the scheduled start of their World Cup campaigns. National federations said they were willing to pay their captains a fine for wearing the OneLove armband, but when it became clear their captains would be sanctioned they had to change their plans.
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“FIFA has made it very clear that if our captains wear the armbands on the field, they will impose sporting sanctions,” the nations said in a joint statement. “As national federations we cannot put our players in a situation where they face sporting sanctions, including warnings, so we have asked captains not to try to wear the armbands at FIFA World Cup matches.
“We were willing to pay fines that would normally be imposed for gear violations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in a situation where they are cautioned or even forced to leave the field.
“We are very frustrated with FIFA’s decision, which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September to say we would like to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband to actively support inclusion in football and have received no response . Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong advocates of inclusion and will show their support in other ways.”
FIFA announced ahead of the start of the tournament that they will have seven different armbands available for each round of the competition, each with different social messaging slogans. But shortly after the seven nations announced they would not be wearing the “OneLove” armband on Monday, FIFA announced it would be making the “No Discrimination” armband available throughout the tournament, while previously to be worn in the quarterfinals.
“Following discussions, FIFA can confirm that their ‘No Discrimination’ campaign has been brought forward from the planned quarter-final stage to allow all 32 captains to have the opportunity to wear this armband during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the statement said Explanation.
“This is in line with Article 13.8.1 of the FIFA Kit Regulations, which states: ‘At FIFA final tournaments, the captain of each team must wear the captain’s armband provided by FIFA.'”
The Dutch were the first to publicly announce that Virgil van Dijk will not wear the armband. KNVB’s statement on the decision read: “Today, hours before the first game, it has been made clear to us by FIFA (officially) that if the captain wears the ‘OneLove’ armband, he will receive a yellow card. We very much regret that it was not possible to find a reasonable solution together.
“We stand for and will continue to spread the ‘OneLove’ message, but our number one priority at the World Cup is to win the games. You don’t want the captain to start the game with a yellow card. That is why we as a UEFA working group, KNVB and as a team had to decide with a heavy heart to abandon our plan.”
The KNVB added: “As previously announced, the KNVB would have paid a possible fine for wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband, but there has never been a case of FIFA wanting to punish us for it on the pitch. That goes against our spirit.” Sport that connects millions of people. Together with the other countries involved, we will critically question our relationship with FIFA in the coming period.”
France, which was also part of the initiative, will not wear the armband either. French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet had said he would “prefer” to see players not wear the rainbow bracelets, while captain Hugo Lloris reiterated the team’s position in a press conference on Monday after previously said there was “too much pressure”. on players to protest in Qatar.
Nine nations, including Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, agreed in September to wear the armband as a symbol of diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination amid concerns over the human rights record of World Cup hosts Qatar.
Both FIFA and UEFA do not normally allow teams to make political statements, but the governing body of European football has granted a dispensation for the armbands to be worn at their UEFA Nations League matches.
FIFA has not made its stance clear, only introducing its own armbands for all captains a day before the start of the World Cup to promote social awareness. The nine nations, of which only seven are present at the World Cup, were willing to accept a fine for the gesture, but there have been suggestions that every captain could be given a yellow card at kick-off in every game.
And on the day that European nations prepared for the start of their World Cup campaigns, they made a unilateral decision not to wear the armband for fear of sanctions against their captains
The day before England’s opening game against Iran, their captain, Harry Kane, said he plans to wear it.
“I think we’ve made it clear as a team, as a staff and as an organization that we want to wear the armband,” Kane said Sunday. “I know the FA are in talks with FIFA at the moment and I’m sure we’ll have the decision by tomorrow at the game. I think we’ve made it clear that we want to carry it.”
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and captain Van Dijk were asked if they would wear the armband in the press conference the day before their opener. Van Gaal, the Netherlands coach, replied: “I’m not going to talk about political issues anymore, I’m talking about this upcoming game and I’m putting an end to all these issues.
“After inviting the migrants to a training session, I asked all our players to stop and focus on the game against Senegal.”
Other nations had confirmed they plan to wear the armband, with both Wales and Germany doing so at the weekend.