- FIFA has vowed to punish players who wear anti-discrimination armbands.
- Seven captains of European nations had planned to wear OneLove bracelets.
- According to a FIFA directive issued on Monday, the captains would have received yellow cards if they were wearing the armbands.
The captains wanted to wear the armbands to promote inclusion and diversity in football and society.
“All the work we are doing to make football more inclusive, you have shown that football is not a place for everyone.”
Captain Martin Ødegaard from Norway during the friendly match between Ireland and Norway at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Source: Getty / (Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Socceroos captain Mat Ryan said FIFA’s wristband directive had been circulated to all World Cup competitors.
Ryan was among 16 Socceroos players to release a video message ahead of the World Cup calling on the host nation to decriminalize same-sex relationships.
England’s Harry Kane, Dutchman Virgil van Dijk and Wales’ Gareth Bale were due to wear the OneLove armbands during Monday’s matches.
“As national associations, we cannot put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings,” the statement said.
But German FA president Bernd Neuendorf said the move was a “disgraceful display of power by FIFA”.
Its symbol was a heart-shaped multi-colored logo designed to promote inclusion and diversity in football and society.
And during competitions, the captain of each team “must wear the captain’s armband provided by FIFA”.
The bracelet worn by Harry Kane of England during the Group B match between England and IR Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Source: Getty / (Photo: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
FIFA said on Monday that the captains of all 32 teams “will have the opportunity” to wear an armband with the slogan “No discrimination” during group matches.
The design was inspired by the fireworks of Belgium’s famous music festival Tomorrowland, which stands for diversity, equality and inclusion.