The Netherlands, England, and Wales said they were afraid of being punished by Fifa if they wore captains’ armbands with rainbow designs. This was part of a plan by European teams to show that everyone is welcome at the World Cup.
On the weekend, the captains of the three countries said they would wear the One Love armbands in their games on Monday to send a message against discrimination while playing in Qatar, where it is illegal to be gay.
But on Monday, the Dutch football association said it had to change course because football’s governing body had made it clear that captains would get yellow cards if they wore armbands that weren’t approved. England and Wales also said they wouldn’t go through with the plan.
The group in charge of Dutch football, KNVB, said, “We’re very sorry that we couldn’t come up with a good solution together.” “We believe in the One Love message and will keep spreading it, but at the World Cup, our main goal is to win the games.”
The statement also said, “In the coming months, we will take a hard look at our relationship with FIFA with the other countries involved.”
The Netherlands are leading the One Love campaign, which also includes Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, and Belgium.
“As national federations, we can’t let our players get sports penalties like bookings, so we’ve asked our captains not to wear the armbands in Fifa World Cup games,” all the football associations said in a joint statement soon after the Dutch announcement.
They also said, “We are very upset with FIFA and think this is a first.”
In the months leading up to the tournament, there was a lot of talk about whether or not European captains would be able to wear their favorite armbands. Football associations asked Fifa for permission to wear One Love armbands months ago, but Fifa didn’t make its position clear until Monday, hours before the game, according to a Dutch statement.
If a player gets a yellow card before the game starts, they are more likely to be sent off during the game. At first, football associations thought that breaking the rules would only cost them a fine.
Sunday, England captain Harry Kane said, “As a team, a staff, and an organization, we’ve made it clear that we want to wear the armband.”
Saturday, the day before the tournament started, Fifa announced its own campaign armbands. The UN-backed initiative was launched with a short video that included messages from football stars Lionel Messi and Neymar. The messages said things like “Football Brings the World Together” and “Share the Meal.”
Saturday, at a press conference, Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa, responded to criticism from Europe by saying that football’s governing body should focus on areas where everyone agrees.
“There are groups whose members think white and groups whose members think black. Which is the best? Which cause is better? We can’t choose a side. We have to fight for international and global causes, because if we don’t, we’ll start excluding people who don’t think like us.
“In Fifa Final Competitions, the captain of each team must wear the captain’s armband that Fifa provides,” says the Fifa rulebook.
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After the European teams’ announcement on Monday, the Football Supporters’ Association, which speaks for fans in England and Wales, said that Fifa was “censoring players” in a statement.
“Today, we feel contempt for an organization that has shown what it really stands for by giving players the yellow card and tolerance the red card,” it said.
Before the tournament, France also took part in the One Love campaign. Hugo Lloris, the captain of France, said at a team press conference that he couldn’t wear the armband because he had to show “respect” for Qatar’s culture.