Soccer  

World Cup teams abandon OneLove armband amid FIFA row

The captains of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands will not wear the OneLove anti-discrimination armband in their World Cup openers after confirmation that their captains would be given yellow cards if they took part in the initiative.

The announcement came just before their World Cup campaigns were scheduled to start. The national federations said they were prepared to pay a fine for their captains to wear the OneLove armband, but once it became clear their captains would be sanctioned, they had to change plans.

“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” a joint statement from the nations read. “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.”