Seven football associations would have liked the captains of their World Cup teams to have armbands with a rainbow logo. However, according to the federations, Fifa could have issued a warning to the captains.
At the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, you won’t see rainbow ribbons on the arms of team captains. The seven football associations that planned the matter published a press release on Monday.
The first to receive the rainbow ribbon was the England captain Harry Kane in the arm match against Iran on Monday afternoon. Already on Sunday, however, the British media reported that England would have been threatened with a warning, i.e. a yellow card, right at the start of the game, if the Onelove captain’s armband with the rainbow logo was on the arm.
– (International Football Federation) Fifa has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear these armbands. As national associations, we cannot put players in a position where they could receive sporting sanctions such as warnings. We have then asked that our captains not wear bands on their arms in the World Cup games, the press release of the seven federations stated.
The press release has been signed by the football associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland and Switzerland.
– We were ready to pay the fines that normally come from violating the shirt regulations, the release states.
However, the unions do not want a situation where wearing a rainbow ribbon could enable, for example, expulsion from the field.
– We are really disappointed by Fifa’s decision. We think it’s unprecedented. We wrote to Fifa in September and informed them of our desire to use the Onelove strip to actively support diversity in football. We didn’t get any answers. Our players and coaches are disappointed. They are strong supporters of diversity and show their support in another way, the release concludes.
The matter was already covered on Sunday at the World Cup teams’ press conferences. At the time, Kane announced that England have made clear their desire to wear the Onelove armband on their captain’s arm. Also the captain of the Netherlands against Senegal on Monday Virgil van Dijk announced his intention to wear a rainbow ribbon in the World Cup tournament. However, Van Dijk was worried about the consequences.
– If I get a yellow card for holding it, we have to think about it because I don’t like playing with a yellow card, van Djik said according to the Guardian.
World Cup host Qatar has been in the public eye for its human rights violations.
On Saturday, Fifa published its own campaign together with three UN offices. According to the campaign, the captains would hold ribbons that read, among other things, “No discrimination,” “Save the Earth,” “Protect the children,” “Education for all” and “Be active.” In Fifa’s campaign, there would have been a total of seven different captain’s armbands for each round in the World Cup, but soon after the seven countries’ announcements, Fifa announced the changes. According to Fifa, it would now be possible for the captains to use the “non-discrimination” ribbon for the entire tournament, while previously it was supposed to be only in the quarter-finals.
– This is in line with article 13.8.1 of the Fifa equipment rules, according to which in the Fifa finals every team captain must wear a band provided by Fifa on his arm, the Fifa press release stated ESPN by (you switch to another service).
The Onelove campaign was started by Holland during the 2021 European Championship when they wanted to send a message against discrimination. The European football association Uefa therefore gave permission for a captain’s armband with a rainbow logo in the European Championship and in this autumn’s Nations League matches.
England are set to show their support for anti-discrimination work with another gesture on Monday against Iran. England players plan to kneel before the starting whistle.
– We believe that it is a strong statement. It aims to say that diversity is important, the England manager Gareth Southgate stated on Sunday.
In Qatar, the position of sexual and gender minorities is difficult. Homosexuality is prohibited in the country.
Updated at 1:47 p.m. Added comments from Fifa’s press release and a reference to the rule section.
Sources: BBC, Guardian, ESPN.