The captains of several European teams will not wear the “OneLove” tape at the World Cup in Qatar due to the risk of receiving a yellow card.
England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales have been appointed to participate in the OneLove campaign to promote inclusion and fight discrimination.
But the country’s associations said in a statement on Monday that the ribbon, which includes a striped heart in different colors to represent all heritages, origins, genders and sexual identities, will not be worn in Qatar.
“FIFA [football’s global governing body] It was clearly stated that if our captains wear armbands on the playing field, then sports sanctions will be applied,” the joint statement said.
“As national federations, we cannot put our players in a position where they could be subject to sporting sanctions, including suspensions, which is why we have asked captains not to try to wear the armband at FIFA World Cup games.”
“We were prepared to pay the fines that would normally be applied to those breaking the kit rules and we made a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in a position where they may be booked or even forced to leave the field,” the statement said.
The decision not to show the tie in Qatar comes just hours before England’s opening game against Iran, while Wales face the USA and the Netherlands play Senegal on Monday.
The countries said they were “disappointed” by FIFA’s “unprecedented” decision to sanction captains for wearing armbands.
“We wrote to FIFA in September and expressed our desire to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, but there has been no response. “Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and support it in other ways,” the statement said.
France have been part of the season-long campaign, but last week captain Hugo Lloris told reporters he would “respect” the local culture during the tournament.
And the Dutch Football Association said on Monday that it was “deeply disappointed” that captain Virgil van Dijk would receive a yellow card for wearing an armband on the pitch.
In the lead-up to the World Cup, Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison, has come under fire for its stance on LGBTQ rights.
A Human Rights Watch report released last month cited instances of Qatari security forces arbitrarily arresting LGBT people and subjecting them to “mistreatment in custody” as recently as September.
However, the country insisted it would “welcome everyone” to the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our experience has shown that we welcome all people, regardless of background.”
In a statement sent to CNN last week, on behalf of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which has been responsible for overseeing infrastructure projects and World Cup planning since its inception in 2011, it is “an inclusive and non-discriminatory” World Cup host country that has received hundreds of awards since it was awarded the World Cup in 2010. He emphasized that he held international and regional sports events.
At the same time, when the countries announced that their captains would not wear the armband in Qatar, FIFA introduced its “No Discrimination” campaign and said all 32 captains would have the opportunity to wear armbands in connection with the campaign.
“I talked with representatives of the country about this issue [Qatar] top leadership,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said at a press conference on Saturday.
“They confirmed, I can confirm, we accept everything. If anyone says otherwise, that is the country’s opinion and not FIFA’s.
But FIFA’s decision to sanction players for wearing ‘OneLove’ armbands left the Football Supporters’ Association, the national representative body for football supporters in England and Wales, outraged, saying it “feels betrayed”.
“Since 2010, we have been questioning Qatar’s suitability to host the World Cup,” the FSA said in a statement.
“Everyone saw this coming and ironically, on the morning of the World Cup opener in England, FIFA is censoring players who want to share a positive message.”