World Cup 2022: England, Wales & other European nations in talks over OneLove armbands

World Cup 2022: England, Wales & other European nations in talks over OneLove armbands

3 min

World Cup 2022: England, Wales & other European nations in talks over OneLove armbands

Harry Kane of England wearing a One Love
The OneLove armband promotes diversity and inclusion – and is a symbol aimed at standing up to discrimination
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

England, Wales and other European nations are in talks over whether to proceed with their plans for their captains to wear a OneLove armband at the World Cup in Qatar.

The captains of nine nations, including England’s Harry Kane and Gareth Bale of Wales, had planned to wear the armband to promote diversity and inclusion.

But they have been warned by Fifa officials that wearing the armband would be a breach of its rules and risk a sporting sanction for captains, such as a booking.

With England due to kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran at 13:00 GMT on Monday, it remains unclear whether the Football Association (FA) will drop its plans for Kane to wear the armband.

Chief executive Mark Bullingham has told the BBC that the FA is willing to take a fine, but the feeling within the governing body is that the prospect of a booking and suspension has put players in an impossible position.

“We’ve been clear that we want to wear the armband,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday. “It is important to us, but equally we need to work through all the discussions right now and see where we end up.

“We’re very keen to wear the armband, we want to do it, but we need to consider the implications. Normally, in this kind of situation, there’d be a fine and we’ve said we’d be prepared to pay that, because we think it’s important to show our support for inclusion.

“If the sporting sanction threat is real then we need to look at that, step back and work out if there’s another way in which we can show our values.”

Also speaking on the Today programme, Noel Mooney, the Football Association of Wales chief executive, said it was “seeking clarifications” from Fifa.

“We want to do it, but the issue is in discussion,” said Mooney, before Wales’ opener against the United States at 19:00.

One of the other European nations due to wear the OneLove armband is Denmark, but head coach Kasper Hjulmand said his players would not be involved in making a decision.

“Imagine going on the pitch with a clear yellow card. That is not possible,” he told a news conference on Monday.

“We have to make sure it is not up to the players to make that decision. We have played with this armband before under Uefa. Let’s see later today what happens. It’s our federation and our decision, not the players’.”

On Saturday, Fifa launched its own armband initiative in partnership with three United Nations agencies.

The armbands will feature a different social campaign throughout each round, including #NoDiscrimination, #SaveThePlanet, #ProtectChildren, #EducationForAll and #BeActive.

The Netherlands began the OneLove campaign before Euro 2020 as a message against discrimination.

Same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised in Qatar.

On Saturday, Fifa president Gianni Infantino accused the West of “hypocrisy” in its reporting about Qatar’s human rights record.

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