National team captains of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark participating in the Qatar World Cup will not wear “OneLove” armbands, their soccer federations said in a joint statement on Monday.
The decision came after FIFA threatened to book any player wearing the multi-coloured armband which was introduced to support diversity and inclusion.
Qatar World Cup organizing committee has been under the spotlight for the human rights record on a country where homosexuality remains illegal.
“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband,” the statement added. “However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”
According to FIFA rules, team equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images, and the captain of each team “must wear the captain’s armband provided by FIFA”.
The announcement on the armbands came after FIFA president Gianni Infantino defended the tournament that was controversial since it was announced in 2010.
“FIFA is an inclusive organization that wants to put football to the benefit of society by supporting good and legitimate causes, but it has to be done within the framework of the competition regulations which are known to everyone,” FIFA said in a statement Monday.