England have “bottled it” by not wearing an anti-discrimination armband in their World Cup opener against Iran, according to fans.
The Three Lions and Wales announced via a joint statement from other European nations who had signed up to the One Love campaign that the armbands would no longer be worn.
They said Fifa had been clear they would impose “sporting sanctions” if the captains of the teams wore the item on the field of play, adding they would not risk yellow cards or more.
England fan Steve Wright, 43, from Derby, when informed of the decision, told the PA news agency: “I disagree with that.
“They’re just bowing to the oppression of the Qatari government.”
Shaun Rowland, 56, from Hertfordshire, also speaking outside the Khalifa International Stadium ahead of England’s game with Iran, said: “They’ve bottled it, haven’t they?
“Would it have made a massive difference? I don’t know, I think it’s a shame.”
Simon Hill, 55, from near Cambridge, added: “Focus on the football.”
Terry Woolf, 52, from Hitchin, said: “What a surprise,” in response to the decision.
He added: “I think they’ve tried to sensationalise a lot of it when it was quite meaningless when they were going to do (it), it didn’t have any real impact.”
Solicitor Karen Bareham, 60, from Guildford, when asked about England captain Harry Kane wearing the rainbow armband before the reversal was announced, said: “I think he should wear it, I think it’d be the right thing to do – if he picks up a yellow card, so be it.”
Shane Jackson, 33, from Malvern, Worcestershire, added: “They’re going to take the knee as well before the game, I think Harry Kane shouldn’t have the burden on him – of being booked, should I wear it, should we focus on the football… The political stuff should be left behind.
“I know they’ve put their thoughts out on it, but let the players concentrate on the football now.”