England have confirmed they will not wear the One Love armband at the World Cup in Qatar after facing pressure from FIFA to drop their plans.
The armbands do not refer directly to Qatar’s anti-gay laws, but are designed as a protest against any form of homophobia – homosexuality is against the law in Qatar.
England were among seven nations to express their desire to wear the armband, even as FIFA threatened sanctions, but the FA has now confirmed they will not wear it this winter.
“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear armbands on the field of play. As national associations we cannot put our players in a position where they can face sporting sanctions including cautions, so we have a joint statement from the football associations. Football in England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland Football leaders have requested that armbands not be attempted at World Cup matches.
“We are extremely frustrated by FIFA’s decision, which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September to inform them of our desire to wear the One Love badge to actively support integration into football, and have received no response.”
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Countries were willing to “pay the fines that normally apply to breaches of equipment regulations” but concerns that players could be booked every time they donned the captain’s armband led to the plans not being forthcoming.
“[We] “Our players cannot be put in a situation where they might be booked or even forced off the field,” the statement added.