England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales are set to take part in the ‘OneLove’ campaign to promote inclusion and oppose discrimination.
But the associations of those countries said in a statement on Monday that the driving armband – which features a heart striped in different colors to represent all heritages, backgrounds, genders and sexual identities – will not be worn in Qatar.
“FIFA [football’s global governing body] It was very clear that they would impose sporting sanctions if our captains wore armbands on the field of play,” the joint statement read.
“As national federations, we cannot put our players in a position where they can face sporting penalties including booking, so we have asked captains not to attempt to wear armbands at FIFA World Cup matches.”
“We were prepared to pay the fines that would normally apply to breaches of the equipment regulations and we have a strong obligation to wear the armband. However, we cannot put our players in a situation where they might be booked or even forced off the pitch.”
The decision not to display the captaincy in Qatar came hours before England’s opening match against Iran and the Netherlands’ match against Senegal later on Monday. Wales currently plays for the United States.
The nations said they were “disappointed” by what they called FIFA’s “unprecedented” decision to sanction captains for wearing the captain’s armband.
“We wrote to FIFA in September to inform them of our desire to wear the One Love badge to actively support integration into football, and have received no response. Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways,” the statement continued.
England manager Gareth Southgate said FIFA’s position should have been “clearer” earlier.
“I understand FIFA’s position that you can set a precedent and it’s very difficult so where do you draw the line?” Southgate told a news conference after England’s 6-2 win over Iran.
“I think in an ideal world it would have been a more obvious situation earlier, but it’s not something that distracts us, because, as I said yesterday, we had to focus on football, you know, there’s a lot more than that, but we can’t get involved in that “.
“People know what we stand for,” said Southgate. “People know this group of players, you know, we take a knee because it’s something we feel we can make a difference with. And there are some things I’m not sure we’ll be able to make a difference with, and so we have to direct our energies in the right direction.”
France have been part of the season-long run, but last week captain Hugo Lloris told reporters he would “respect” the local culture during the tournament.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Football Association said on Monday that it was “very disappointed” that team captain Virgil van Dijk would receive a yellow card if he wore the captain’s armband on the pitch.
Ahead of his country’s opening World Cup match on Wednesday, Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans called the decision a “disgrace”.
Tillmans said, “I think it’s a shame that it’s not happening because it’s just a fight against discrimination all over the world, not just here, but also in Europe and in other countries. And I think it’s a shame that it hasn’t happened and we just have to move forward.”
Thielemans’ Belgian team mate Thomas Meunier said FIFA had deliberately waited to announce the ban. “I think it’s a smart move by FIFA because they knew before that this would lead to protests, a lot of speeches, interviews and, of course, negative words about Qatar,” the defender said.
“So the best thing for them was to wait until the last moment to get everybody in the country, and then to make a decision and apply the rules that they want to apply. And the rules are not for everyone.”
In preparation for the World Cup, Qatar – where Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison She has been criticized for her stance on the rights of the LGBT community.
A Human Rights Watch report published last month documented cases as far back as September in which Qatari security forces arbitrarily arrested LGBT people and subjected them to “ill-treatment in custody.”
However, the state insisted that “everyone is welcome” to the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our track record has shown that we warmly welcome all people regardless of their background.”
A statement sent to CNN last week on behalf of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) which since its formation in 2011 has been responsible for overseeing infrastructure projects and planning for the World Cup, said it was committed to an “inclusive and discrimination-free World Cup,” referring to the fact That the country has hosted, according to her, hundreds of international and regional sporting events since winning the World Cup in 2010.
Prior to the nations announcing that their captains would no longer wear the badge in Qatar, FIFA introduced its own “No Discrimination” campaign and said that all 32 captains would have the opportunity to wear a badge associated with the campaign.
I have talked about this issue with the state [Qatar] FIFA President said Gianni Infantino At a press conference Saturday.
They confirmed, and I can confirm, that everyone is welcome. If anyone says otherwise, it is not the country’s opinion and certainly not FIFA’s.
Fifa’s decision to sanction players for wearing the “OneLove” armband nonetheless sparked outrage, with the Football Supporters’ Association, the representative body for football fans in England and Wales, saying it “feels betrayed”.
“Since 2010, we have been asking questions about the suitability of Qatar to host the World Cup,” said a statement from the Free Syrian Army.
“Everyone can see this coming, and it’s amazing that on the morning of the opening match of the World Cup in England, FIFA is censoring players… who want to share a positive message.”
Meanwhile, Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, noted that “there should be a long time ago that agreements were reached on armbands, and better protection for the LGBT community.”
Qatar has dismissed the “OneLove” badge controversy as a matter between FIFA and international teams, stressing that “everyone is welcome” regardless of “orientation”.
“Everything that happens on the pitch is the prerogative of FIFA,” SC spokeswoman Fatima Al-Naimi told CNN’s Becky Anderson in Doha.
“There is nothing to comment on, I think it is between … the teams and FIFA directly,” Al-Nuaimi said.
Responding to players showing forms of protest at Qatar 2022, including raising a knee for England, and Iran players choosing not to sing the national anthem in support of the protests back home, Al-Naimi said the World Cup was a “platform” for people. to express their “values and beliefs”.
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