Six nations have joined England in confirming their players will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup.This is as a result threats from FIFA to book captains if they brake regulations and made their own statements on social issues, rather than following guidelines from the game’s governing body.OneLove, which promotes “inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind”, has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.But, following extensive discussions between FIFA and an alliance of football associations – England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the armband will now not be worn.A joint statement read: “FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.”As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.”Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”England open their World Cup campaign against Iran later on Monday.
In a separate statement, the Dutch FA (KNVB) – the OneLove campaign originated in the Netherlands – expressed its anger and disappointment at FIFA’s stance.It read: “The KNVB and the players of the Dutch national team would like to convey a positive message with OneLove and against all forms of discrimination.”We wanted to do that at the World Cup together with England, Wales, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.”The UEFA working group, of which the KNVB is part, asked FIFA on September 19 to embrace the OneLove captain’s armband. Today, hours before the first match, FIFA has (officially) made it clear to us that the captain will receive a yellow card if he wears the OneLove captain’s armband.”We deeply regret that is has not been possible to reach a reasonable solution together.”We stand with the OneLove message and continue to carry it out, but our first priority at the World Cup is to win matches. You don’t want the captain to start the match by getting a yellow card. That is why we had to decide with pain in our hearts – as a UEFA working group, the KNVB and as a team – to abandon our plan.”As previously announced, the KNVB would have paid a possible fine for wearing the OneLove captain’s armband but that FIFA would punish us for this on the field was not expected.”This goes against the spirit of our sport which connects millions of people. In the coming period, together with the other countries involved, we will take a critical look at our relationship with FIFA.”