European teams scrap ‘One Love’ LGBT rights armband plan at World Cup

© Marco Bertorello, AFP

France, England, Germany and four other European teams at the World Cup on Monday abandoned plans to wear a rainbow-themed armband in support of LGBTQ rights, citing the threat of disciplinary action from FIFA.

"FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play," the seven teams said in a joint statement.

Under FIFA rules, players wearing kit that is not authorised by football's world governing body could be shown a yellow card.

If that player was then shown a second yellow card, they would be sent off.

The armbands had widely been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in the World Cup host nation Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

"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," the federations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland said.

The climbdown after threats from FIFA came hours before England's Harry Kane, the Netherlands' Virgil van Dijk and Wales' Gareth Bale were due to wear the armbands in Monday's games. The captains of Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had also pledged to wear the armbands in the coming days.

FIFA raised the prospect of yellow cards on Sunday during a testy meeting with European soccer federations, including the seven teams that pledged to wear the armband.


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