England’s Harry Kane and several other European captains said not to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband at the World Cup

England's Harry Kane and several other European captains said not to wear the 'OneLove' armband at the World Cup
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The captains of several European teams will not wear OneLove Bracelets in the World Cup in Qatar due to the danger of receiving yellow cards.

England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales were ready to participate in the “OneLove” campaign to promote inclusion and oppose discrimination.

But the associations of those countries said in a statement on Monday that the bracelet, which features a heart striped in different colors to represent all heritages, origins, genders and sexual identities, will not be worn in Qatar.

fifa [football’s global governing body] It has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the pitch,” the joint statement read.

“As national associations, we cannot put our players in a position where they may face sporting sanctions, including reservations, which is why we have asked captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup matches. ”.

“We were prepared to pay the fines that would normally apply to infractions of the kit rules and we had a firm commitment to wear the armband. However, we cannot put our players in a situation where they can be booked or even forced to leave the field of play,” the statement added.

The decision not to display the armband in Qatar comes hours before England’s opening match against Iran, while Wales take on the United States and the Netherlands play Senegal later on Monday.

The countries said they were “frustrated” by what they described as FIFA’s “unprecedented” decision to penalize captains if they wore the armband.

“We wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our desire to use the One Love bracelet to actively support inclusion in football, and received no response. Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show their support in other ways,” the statement continued.

France have been part of the campaign all season, but last week captain Hugo Lloris told reporters he would “respect” the local culture during the tournament.

Meanwhile, the Dutch football association said on Monday it was “deeply disappointed” that captain Virgil van Dijk received a yellow card if he wore the armband on the pitch.

In preparation for the World Cup, Qatar, where Homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by up to three years in prison – has been criticized for his stance on LGBTQ rights.

A Human Rights Watch report, released last month, documented cases in September in which Qatari security forces arbitrarily arrested LGBT people and subjected them to “ill-treatment in custody.”

However, the country has insisted that “everyone is welcome” at the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our track record has shown that we have given a warm welcome to all people, regardless of background.”

A statement sent to CNN last week on behalf of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) which, since its formation in 2011, has been responsible for overseeing infrastructure projects and World Cup planning, said that was committed to “an inclusive World Cup free of discrimination,” pointing to the fact that the country, he said, has hosted hundreds of international and regional sporting events since it was awarded the World Cup in 2010.

Before countries announced their captains would not wear the armband in Qatar, FIFA launched its own “No Discrimination” campaign, saying all 32 captains would have the chance to wear a campaign-related armband.

“I have been discussing this issue with the country’s leaders. [Qatar] maximum leadership”, said the president of FIFA gianni infantino at a press conference on Saturday.

“They have confirmed, and I can confirm that everyone is welcome. If someone says otherwise, it is not the opinion of the country and it is certainly not the opinion of FIFA.”

But FIFA’s decision to penalize players for wearing the “OneLove” armband has necessarily generated anger, with the Football Fans’ Association, the representative body for football fans in England and Wales, saying that “it feel betrayed.”

“Since 2010 we have been raising doubts about Qatar’s suitability as a host for the World Cup,” an FSA statement said.

“Everyone could see this coming and it’s amazing that, on the morning of England’s first World Cup match, FIFA is censoring players… who want to share a positive message.”

Meanwhile, Steve Cockburn, Director of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International, noted that “agreements on armbands and better protections for LGBT communities are long overdue.”

Qatar dismissed the ‘OneLove’ bracelet controversy as a matter between FIFA and international teams, reiterating that “everyone is welcome” regardless of “orientation”.

“Everything that happens on the pitch is a FIFA business,” SC spokeswoman Fatma Al Nuaimi told CNN’s Becky Anderson in Doha.

“There is nothing to comment on, I think it is between… the teams and FIFA directly,” Al Nuaimi said.

In response to players showing forms of protest at Qatar 2022, including the England team taking a knee and Iran players choosing not to sing the national anthem in support of the protests at home, Al Nuaimi said the Qatar Cup Mundo is “a platform” for people. to express their “values ​​and beliefs”.

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