World Cup 2022: Rainbow armband program dissolves after FIFA threat

European teams’ bid to promote World Cup participation collapsed on Monday, after the Netherlands, England and Wales said threats from FIFA had forced them to scrap plans to wear rainbow-themed armbands.

The captains of the three countries had said at the weekend that they would wear One Love armbands during their matches on Monday to send a message against discrimination while playing in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal.

But on Monday, the Dutch FA said it had been forced to change its policy after football’s governing body made it clear that captains would receive yellow cards for wearing non-approved armbands. England and Wales said they would not go along with the plan.

“We deeply regret that it was not possible to reach a reasonable solution together,” said the KNVB, the governing body of Dutch football. “We stand for the One Love message and will continue to spread it, but our priority at the World Cup is to win the games.”

The statement also said: “Along with the other countries involved, we will critically examine our relationship with FIFA in the coming season.”

Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Belgium are also part of the Dutch-led One Love campaign.

A joint statement from all the football associations involved followed shortly after the Dutch announcement: “As national associations we cannot subject our players to sporting sanctions, including bookings, so we have asked our captains not to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup matches . “

They added: “We are very disappointed with FIFA and believe this is unprecedented.”

The debate over whether European captains will be allowed to wear selected armbands has been brewing for months in the run-up to the tournament. Requests by football associations for permission from FIFA to wear One Love armbands were received months ago, but there has been no response.

Instead, football’s governing body announced its own military armbands on Saturday, the day before the tournament began. With slogans such as “Football unites the world” and “Share the meal”, the UN initiative was launched with a short video with messages from superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar.

England captain Harry Kane said on Sunday: “We have made it clear as a team, staff and organization that we want to wear the armband.

But with hours to go before the first European team takes the field, football associations were still seeking clarification from FIFA on whether wearing the armband could lead to on-field penalties for players, such as a yellow card for captains at the start of a match.

FIFA rules state: “In the FIFA Finals, the captain of each team must wear the captain’s armband provided by FIFA.” Football associations had expected to pay a fine for breaking the rules but are now concerned that players could face on-field punishment. Receiving a yellow card at kick-off would put players at increased risk of being sent off during the match.

France was also part of the One Love campaign for the tournament. However, French captain Hugo Lloris had already indicated he was unlikely to wear the armband, telling a team press conference: “We need FIFA’s approval.”

“When we are in France, when we welcome foreigners, we often want them to follow our rules, respect our culture and I will do the same when I go to Qatar, simply,” Lloris said. “I can agree or disagree with their ideas, but I have to show respect.”

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