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WORLD CUP 2022

Why are World Cup captains not wearing rainbow armbands? Immediate and harsh reaction

The gesture was meant to be a strong message to the local Qatari regime and to the wider world, but FIFA punishment has stopped it.

Update:
Germany's Manuel Neuer wears a rainbow-colored captain's armband
ALEXANDER HASSENSTEINPool via REUTERS

Back in September, the English Football Association communicated to FIFA that the team’s captain would wear a ‘OneLove’ rainbow armband for games in the 2022 World Cup. It’s purpose, to send a message of support to the LGBT+ community and a reminder to controversial hosts Qatar that inclusivity and human rights are fundamental in a modern society.

As Monday 21 November arrived, Day 2 of the tournament, England captain Harry Kane was readying himself for the nation’s first game against Iran, another country that could be aided from his stance. Instead, a joint statement from the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands make it clear that the governing body’s sanctions has changed their minds. So much for Gianni Infantino’s “I feel gay” speech a few days ago. What do they say about words vs actions?

Rainbow armband joint statement in full

“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.”

“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.”

Reactions to rainbow armband decision

As you can possibly imagine, the reaction condemning this decision was swift. Here are a selection of those public comments, including some novel ideas to counter the sanctions.

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