World Cup teams abandon ‘OneLove’ badge

The captains of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands will not wear the anti-discrimination ‘OneLove’ armband in their opening World Cup matches after ensuring their captains were given yellow cards if they took part in the initiative.

The announcement came just before they were scheduled to begin their World Cup campaigns. The national federations said they were willing to fine their captains for wearing the “OneLove” armband, but once it became clear that their captains would be penalized, they had to change their plans.

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“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear armbands on the field of play,” a joint statement from the two countries said. “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 World Cup matches.

“We were prepared to pay the fines normally applied 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 field of play.

“We are very disappointed by FIFA’s decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September to inform them of our desire to wear the ‘OneLove’ 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.

FIFA announced before the start of the tournament that it would have seven different badges available for each round of the competition, each with different social messaging logos. But shortly after the seven nations announced they would no longer wear the “OneLove” armband on Monday, FIFA announced it would provide the “non-discrimination” armband throughout the tournament, when it was due to be worn in the quarter-finals.

“Following discussions, FIFA can confirm that its ‘No Discrimination’ campaign has been introduced from the planned quarter-final stage in order for all 32 captains to have the opportunity to wear this armband during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the statement read.

This is in line with Article 13.8.1 of the FIFA Equipment Regulations, which states: “For FIFA Final Competitions, 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 would not wear the armband. A KNVB statement on the decision read: “Today, hours before the first match, FIFA (officially) explained to us that the captain will receive a yellow card if he wears the ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband. We deeply regret that it was not possible to find a reasonable solution. together.

“We support the ‘OneLove’ message and will continue to spread it, but our number one priority at the World Cup is to win matches. You don’t want the captain to start the game with a yellow card. This is why we as a UEFA working group, KNVB and as a team had to decide to abandon our plan.”

KNVB added: “As previously announced, KNVB had paid a possible fine for wearing the ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband, but FIFA wants to punish us on the field because this is unprecedented. It goes against our spirit. A sport that connects millions of people. Together with countries. In the coming period, we will take a critical look at our relationship with FIFA.”

France, which was also part of the initiative, will not wear the armband either. FFF president Noel Le Graet said he would “prefer” players not to wear rainbow armbands, while captain Hugo Lloris reiterated the team’s stance at a press conference on Monday after previously saying there was “a lot of pressure”. On the players to protest in Qatar.

Nine countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, agreed in September to wear the armband as a symbol of diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination amid concerns about Qatar’s human rights record as it hosts the World Cup.

FIFA and UEFA do not normally allow teams to make political statements, but European football’s governing body has given armbands to be worn in UEFA Nations League matches.

FIFA has not made their position clear, and just a day before the World Cup kicks off, they release their own badges for all captains to wear to promote social awareness. The nine nations, of which only seven have participated in the World Cup, were willing to accept a fine for making the gesture, but there were suggestions that each captain might receive a yellow card at the start of each match.

And on the day when European countries were preparing to start their World Cup campaigns, they made a unilateral decision not to wear the armband for fear of punishment for their leaders.

The day before England’s opening match against Iran, captain Harry Kane said he planned 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 on Sunday. “I know the FA is talking to FIFA at the moment and I’m sure by game time tomorrow we’ll have the decision. I think we’ve made it clear we want to wear it.”

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and captain Van Dijk were asked if they would wear the captain’s armband at the press conference the day before the opening. Van Gaal, the Dutch coach, replied: “I will no longer talk about political issues, I’m talking about the next match and stop all these issues.

“After I invited the migrants to watch a training session, I asked all of our players to stop it completely and focus on the match against Senegal.”

Other countries have confirmed they plan to wear the armband, with Wales and Germany both doing so at the weekend.

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